Reduced haemoglobin levels in infants presenting with apparent life-threatening events--a retrospective investigation

Acta Paediatr. 1992 Apr;81(4):319-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1992.tb12234.x.


Anaemia has been shown to be associated with an increased apnoeic pause frequency and with cyanotic breath-holding spells. In this study, the relationship between anaemia and apparent life-threatening events was retrospectively investigated in 72 term infants referred for assessment and home monitoring following an apparent life-threatening event. For 41 infants (25 male, 16 female; 38 Caucasian, three Asian) a venous red blood cell count was available. Their median age at the time of the apparent life-threatening event was 2.0 (0.6-6.7) months. The Hb levels in these 41 infants were plotted against normal data from the literature. Thirty-four infants had Hb levels below the mean, whilst six infants had values above the corresponding normal mean; the one remaining infant had a Hb value identical to the normal mean. Significantly more infants than expected had Hb levels below the mean (p less than 0.001, binomial test). Anaemia may have played a role in the pathophysiology leading to life-threatening events in some of the infants investigated in this study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Anemia / blood
  • Anemia / complications*
  • Apnea / complications*
  • Bias
  • Erythrocyte Count
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • London / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sudden Infant Death / epidemiology
  • Sudden Infant Death / etiology


  • Hemoglobins