Apnea means to stop breathing. All people, even babies, take short pauses in their breathing during sleep. These short pauses are NORMAL and should not scare you.
Apnea is a medical problem when:
- Your baby's breathing stops for more than 20 seconds.
- Your baby's breathing stops for a shorter period of time but he/she has a pale or blue color around the mouth and nose.
Apnea is often a symptom of other medical problems. The cause needs to be found and treated. Your baby’s doctor may order a variety of tests to help find the cause of apnea.
These tests may include:
- Blood and urine tests
- Electrocardiogram (EKG), to make sure your baby's heart is beating right
- Electroencephalogram (EEG), to rule out seizures
- Upper GI, to look for reflux (when stomach contents back up into the esophagus)
- Polysomnogram (sleep study), to check your child’s breathing and heart rate while asleep.
What can cause apnea:
- Being born too soon
- Low red blood cells
- Heart problems
- Gastroesophageal Reflux
- Severe Infections
Managing your child's apnea:
Your baby’s doctor and nurse will review treatment plans and medications with you before your baby goes home.