apnoea in neonates

Last reviewed 01/2018

Neonatal apnoeas are episodes when an infant fails to make any respiratory effort.

They are defined thus:

  • no respiratory efforts for a period of more than 20 sec
  • a break in respiration of less than 20 sec but associated with bradycardia - a reduction in heart rate of more than 30%

The frequency of apnoeic episodes is closely related to the degree of prematurity.