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European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 149, Issue 9, pp 608–612 | Cite as

Observations on gastro-oesophageal reflux, central apnoea and heart rate in infants

  • J. Y. Paton
  • C. S. Nanayakkara
  • H. Simpson
Gastroenterology/Hepatology

Abstract

Respiratory movements and heart rate were monitored continuously during the course of 2 h radionuclide studies to detect gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) in 22 infants following a milk feed. Twenty infants had GOR, to upper oesophageal/pharyngeal level in 19, and 17 had central apnoea between 3 and 15 s. Prolonged central apnoea (> 20s) was not observed. Bradycardia, defined as a heart rate less than 80 beats/min for 10 s or more, was observed in only 1 infant who did not have GOR. No correlation was found between the number or duration of reflux episodes and the frequency of respiratory pauses between 3 and 17 s. When data from individual infants were examined a possible temporal relation between the occurrence of GOR and central apnoea was seen in only two infants; in each case, detailed examination suggested that apnoea was more closely associated with sleep than with GOR. Although the respiratory monitoring system did not include airflow sensors, the almost complete absence of bradycardia suggested that prolonged obstructive apnoeas did not occur. We conclude that any relation between GOR and central apnoeas<15 s is not of a direct cause/effect nature.

Key words

Gastro-oesophageal reflux Central apnoea Bradycardia Sudden infant death 

Abbreviations

ALTEs

apparently life threatening effects

GOR

gastro-oesophageal reflux

Ql

lower quartile

Qu

upper quartile

SID

Sudden infant death

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Y. Paton
    • 1
  • C. S. Nanayakkara
    • 1
  • H. Simpson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Child HealthUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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