A clinical study of incidence and etiology of apnea in newborn

Rajith M L, Punyashree R.


Background: Apnea, defined as cessation of breathing resulting in pathological changes in heart rate and oxygen saturation, is a common occurrence especially in preterm neonates, apnea is not a disease and is a symptom of various diseases that affect neonates. Aim was to know the incidence and etiology of apnea in newborn in Indian setup.

Methods: All admitted neonates who developed apnea is documented to know the incidence and selected cases were retrospectively studied to know the etiology.

Results: Incidence of apnea was 19.92%, hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy and sepsis 25.67% each were the common etiologies.

Conclusions: Occurrence of apnea definitely reflects the mortality rate in newborns. Incidence of apnea in general and apnea in term newborns in particular are significantly more in comparison with western data. The association of HIE and Sepsis, the potentially preventable causes, perpetuates the incidence of term apnea reflecting the bad obstetric care, poor infrastructure, illiteracy, poor health seeking behavior affecting the child health antenataly, nataly and post nataly. Incidence of apnea in premature newborns is almost comparable to western studies. The primary apnea which is the most common cause, is an uncontrollable entity affecting similarly the newborn community of developed and developing world. India’s taboo of having high infant mortality is once again reflected in the study.


Apnea, Hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy, Newborn, Sepsis

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