Apnea and periodic breathing in normal full-term infants during the first twelve months

Pediatr Pulmonol. Jul-Aug 1985;1(4):215-9. doi: 10.1002/ppul.1950010409.


The pediatric pneumogram is a frequently used tool in the diagnosis and management of apnea during infancy. We analyzed 287 pneumographic recordings from 123 full-term infants (63 males) obtained during the first 12 months of life to establish normative values for apnea, periodic breathing, and bradycardia. The results of the analysis were compared by sex and age. The number of infants who exhibited periodic breathing decreased significantly over time (78% at 0-2 weeks vs 29% at 39-52 weeks; P less than 0.05). However, for those infants who did breathe periodically, the percent of sleep time spent in this breathing pattern did not change with age. No apnea greater than or equal to 15 seconds was recorded in any infant, and apnea density (total apnea greater than or equal to 10 seconds in minutes/100 minutes sleep time) did not change with age or sex. Using our definitions, no bradycardia was identified. Normal full-term infants occasionally have apnea of 10, 11, or 12 seconds, and, until 6 months of age, the majority will have a small amount of periodic breathing (less than 1% of sleep time) during sleep at home.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Bradycardia / diagnosis
  • Cheyne-Stokes Respiration / diagnosis*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Respiration Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Respiration*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis*