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Munchausen syndrome by proxy and apnea (MBPA). A survey of apnea programs.

The authors sent questionnaires to 127 apnea monitoring programs asking whether they had treated patients whose apnea appeared to have been induced by a parent (Munchausen syndrome by proxy-apnea, or MBPA). Fifty-one programs (40%) reported 54 cases of this kind from among their 20,090 monitored patients (0.27%). The authors obtained further information on 32 of these patients, 83% of whom presented with infantile apnea before the third month of life. Although medical problems were documented, including apnea, the clinical condition of these infants was inconsistent with the multiple life-threatening episodes typically reported by parents. Twenty-one of the infants reportedly received cardiopulmonary resuscitation at home, 15 had ambulance calls to the home, and 24 were rehospitalized. Child Protective Service agencies were consulted for 12 patients, 5 of whom were placed in foster homes. Three index infants and five siblings are known to be dead, and one additional infant is severely brain damaged from abuse.

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