Types of Apnea
Apnea means a pause in breathing. Short pauses in breathing and/or irregular breathing can be normal in infants.
Apnea can become a problem when it happens for an extended length of time (MORE THAN 20 SECONDS) or when there is a color change in the baby’s face or decrease in heart rate.
Classifications of apnea
- Central apnea: Occurs when the chest wall does not move and air is not moving in and out of the lungs. It is as if the baby has forgotten to breathe. This type of apnea can be caused by immaturity or other factors.
- Obstructive apnea Occurs when the baby is trying to breathe (the chest wall is moving), but air cannot move in and out of the lungs. This usually occurs because the baby has a blocked airway.
Types of apnea
- Apnea of Prematurity (AOP): apnea that lasts longer than 20 seconds or a shorter pause in breathing associated with a heart rate drop, color change, or oxygen desaturation, in an infant that is born prematurely less than 37 weeks). This is most likely due to an immaturity in the brainstem that controls breathing.
- Apnea of Infancy (AOI): apnea that lasts longer than 20 seconds or a shorter pause in breathing associated with a drop in heart rate, color change and/or marked decrease in muscle tone (limpness). The term apnea of infancy generally refers to infants with a gestational age of 37 weeks or more.
- Apparent Life Threatening Event (ALTE): is an episode that is frightening to the observer and is characterized by some combination of apnea (central or obstructive), color change (usually blue or gray-pale but occasionally red), marked change in muscle tone (usually limpness), choking or gagging.