[Cardiorespiratory arrest in full term newborn infants: six case reports]

Arch Pediatr. 2004 May;11(5):432-5. doi: 10.1016/j.arcped.2004.02.012.
[Article in French]


Cardiorespiratory arrest occurring within the first two hours of life of a perfectly normal newborn is a very seldom event hitherto unreported. Six infants born after an uneventful pregnancy by normal vaginal delivery, with a normal Apgar score and physical examination, were found with unexpected cardiorespiratory arrest requiring cardiac and respiratory resuscitation early after birth. All were lying in the prone position, their face covered up while facing mother's abdomen, breast or neck. All mothers were primipara. All newborns but one died. Biological and bacteriological samples were normal and early onset neonatal sepsis was ruled out. Autopsy, performed in five infants, was not contributive. We hypothesize that the sudden and unexpected cardiorespiratory arrest occurring in these normal newborns was secondary to acute upper airway obstruction. To prevent this life threatening post-natal asphyxic episode, it is essential to ensure that the face of a newborn lying down upon mother's breast and abdomen is properly and continuously cleared.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction / complications*
  • Breast Feeding
  • Delivery Rooms
  • Female
  • Heart Arrest / etiology*
  • Heart Arrest / pathology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Posture