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Apnea in the term infant.

Whereas apnea of prematurity has been well defined and its pathophysiology extensively studied, apnea in the term infant remains a greater challenge. Unfortunately, clear diagnostic criteria are lacking and pathogenesis and management vary widely. In this review we have arbitrarily organized the discussion chronologically into earlier and later postnatal periods. In the first days of life, presumed apnea may reflect physiologic events such as positional or feeding etiologies, or may be a manifestation of serious pathophysiology, such as a seizure disorder. Beyond the neonatal period, presumed apnea may be characterized as a BRUE event (brief resolved unexplained event; formerly referred to as ALTE: apparent life-threatening event) and most frequently a precipitating event cannot be identified. Medical providers are left with somewhat of a dilemma regarding the need to hospitalize and/or work up such patients.

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