In this section
Apnoea is a common problem in preterm infants that may be due to an underlying illness or most commonly to idiopathic apnoea of prematurity. In term infants apnoea is almost always due to a pathological cause but they may rarely experience apnoea of prematurity as well. There are 3 types of apnoea, all of which present quite differently.
The aim of this guideline is to ensure that health carers are aware of:
Apnoea:No respiratory effort for greater than 20 seconds. No respiratory effort for shorter periods of time may also be classified as apnoea if accompanied by cyanosis or bradycardia
Neonate:A newborn, up to 28 days of age (post-term)
The most common cause of apnoea is apnoea of prematurity; the incidence depends on the neonate's gestational age
NB:Short episodes of apnoea are usually central whereas prolonged ones are often mixed
Ensure all episodes are clearly documented with the intervention that was required to correct them.
Aggarwal, R., Singhal, A., Deorari, A., Paul V.K.
(2009). Apnoea in the newborn. All India
Institute of Medical Sciences. (12), 550-554.
Please remember to read the disclaimer
The development of this nursing guideline was coordinated by Trudy Holton, Clinical Nurse Educator, Butterfly Ward, and approved by the Nursing Clinical Effectiveness Committee. Updated July 2015.