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Infant Apnea


Infant apnea is an episode when your baby stops breathing for more than 20 seconds for no obvious reason. Your baby may begin breathing again with certain measures or on his own. Infant apnea is also called an apparent life-threatening event (ALTE). An ALTE is an episode that frightens the person who sees it.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.


Your baby may need extra oxygen if his blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. He may get oxygen through a mask placed over his nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in his nostrils. Ask your baby's healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.


Your baby's heart rate and breathing will be continually monitored. He may need to go home with a monitor.


Your baby may need any of the following tests:

  • Blood tests are used to check for infection, anemia, or low blood sugar.
  • A chest x-ray is used to check for an infection or heart disease.
  • An EKG may show an abnormal heart rate or other heart problems.
  • An EEG may show seizure activity.
  • Sleep studies may show problems with your baby's sleep patterns.
  • A barium swallow is used to check for gastric reflux.


Your baby may have an increased risk for developmental delays. If your baby has 1 episode, his risk increases for another episode.


You have the right to help plan your baby's care. Learn about your baby's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your baby's caregivers to decide what care you want for your baby.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Infant Apnea (Inpatient Care)

Micromedex® Care Notes