Mixed and obstructive apneas are related to ventilatory oscillations in premature infants

T. B. Waggener, I. D. Frantz, B. A. Cohlan, A. R. Stark

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17 Scopus citations


In our previous study of 14 premature infants, apnea occurred at the minimum phase of ventilatory oscillations. The apneas corresponded to cessation of airflow at the nose and mouth and were not distinguished as central, mixed, or obstructive. Changes in heart rate associated with the apneas were not identified. To determine whether ventilatory pattern characteristics might predict either the type of apnea or heart rate changes during the apnea, we analyzed measurements of chest wall movement and heart rate that were made during the earlier studies. Chest wall movement measured by magnetometers was compared with airflow measured with a face mask and pneumotachograph. Tidal volume, breath duration, and ventilation were calculated on a breath-by-breath basis, converted to time-axis data strings, and filtered with a comb of zero phase shift digital band-pass filters to detect breathing patterns. Of 182 apneas ≥3 s duration, 55% were central, 31% were mixed, and 14% were obstructive. All three types of apnea were related to ventilatory oscillations. Multiple linear and logistic regressions showed that an apnea was more likely to be obstructive when it was long and when the underlying ventilatory oscillation was due primarily to an oscillation in breath duration. Multiple linear and logistic regressions showed that decreases in heart rate were related primarily to the duration of apnea and secondarily to the characteristics of the underlying breathing patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2818-2826
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1989


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