Sleep, respiratory rate, and growth hormone in chronic neonatal lung disease

Pediatr Pulmonol. 1998 Oct;26(4):241-9. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1099-0496(199810)26:4<241::aid-ppul2>;2-1.


This study assessed whether respiratory rates (RRs) correlate with urinary growth hormone (U-GH) excretion and sleep architecture in infants with chronic neonatal lung disease (CNLD) in early (1 month), middle (6 months), and late (10 months) infancy. Twenty-three preterm infants (CNLD=16, controls=7) were studied on 51 occasions. CNLD infants were stratified according to mean non-REM sleep respiratory rate (NREM RR) in early infancy into "High RR CNLD" infants (mean NREM RR >2 SD higher than controls) and "Normal RR CNLD" infants (mean NREM RR within 2 SD of controls' mean). "High RR CNLD" infants (RR >45) had a lower mean birthweight (P=0.015), current weight (P=0.042), current length (P=0.02), and growth velocity in early infancy (grams/week gained: P=0.042) than "Normal RR CNLD" and control infants. Mean (95% CI) U-GH excretion (ng U-GH/g urinary creatinine) was higher in "High RR CNLD" infants in air or their usual O2 (1,932 [459, 3,406]) than "Normal RR CNLD" (394 [147, 642]) and controls (320 [147, 492]) (P=0.024). With resolution of tachypnea by mid-infancy, hemoglobin oxygen saturation (SaO2) >93%, mean growth parameters and U-GH excretion for the "High RR CNLD" group were not significantly different from "Normal RR CNLD" and control groups. CNLD infants demonstrated increased sleep efficiency (P=0.016), whereas controls had similar sleep efficiency between early and middle infancy (P=0.452). Mean percent time in REM sleep (REM%) and slow wave sleep (SWS%) were not significantly different between early and middle infancy and did not vary in relation to respiratory rate. We conclude that tachypneic infants with CNLD have slower growth and elevated U-GH excretion in early infancy. With resolution of tachypnea, growth improved, U-GH excretion decreased, and sleep consolidation occurred. An elevated U-GH in tachypneic CNLD infants may reflect stress, compromised nutrition (GH resistance), or a feedback loop involving a direct effect of GH on lung growth and repair.

MeSH terms

  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / physiopathology*
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / urine
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Growth Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Growth Disorders / urine
  • Human Growth Hormone / urine*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Polysomnography
  • Respiration*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Work of Breathing


  • Human Growth Hormone