Heart rate and oxygen saturation correlates of infant apnea

Tracy Carbone, Luis C. Marrero, Johanna Weiss, Mark Hiatt, Thomas Hegyi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To analyze the effects of apnea duration on changes in heart rate and oxygen saturation and to examine the temporal relationships among these variables. STUDY DESIGN: An event analysis sheet was designed to analyze numerous variables reflecting changes in heart rate and oxygen saturation associated with infant apnea. From July 1, 1991 through June 30, 1992 we identified 32 infants enrolled in The Infant Apnea Program at St. Peter's Medical Center, New Brunswick, NJ who had apnea ≥15 seconds in duration on consecutive 12-hour multichannel recordings of heart rate, thoracic impedance, nasal thermistry, and oxygen saturation. The apnea epochs of these patients were subdivided into apnea of short (10 to 14 seconds), medium (15 to 19 seconds), and long (≥20 seconds) duration, and a total of 236 apnea epochs were analyzed. The significance of differences was assessed by analysis of variance and Newman-Keuls multiple comparisons. RESULTS: We found that the duration of apnea has significant effects on perturbations in both heart rate and oxygen saturation, however, the degree of oxygen desaturation can not be predicted by the perturbation in heart rate. Analysis of the temporal relationship of apnea, bradycardia, and oxygen desaturation reveals that, although apnea precedes both heart rate and oxygen saturation drops in most infants as the length of apneic interval increases, the interval between apnea onset and associated drops in heart rate and/or oxygen saturation also increases. CONCLUSION: Oxygen saturation monitoring may provide important physiologic data that can not be assessed by cardiorespiratory monitoring alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-47
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Perinatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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