Infant sleep apnea occurs when your baby’s breathing is reduced or pauses during sleep.
A very serious condition, infant apnea requires expert care with an experienced pediatric pulmonologist who can restore normal breathing and prevent complications from developing.
Symptoms & Complications
The primary symptom of infant apnea is a pause in breathing during sleep that lasts for 20 seconds or more. When your baby finally takes a breath after the pause, they may gasp or gag. In severe cases, your baby may turn blue due to a lack of oxygen in the blood.
It’s important to note that severe sleep apnea can lead to serious complications, including a slow heartbeat, a loss of consciousness and death. As such, if your baby is displaying symptoms, it is important to seek immediate attention with a pediatric pulmonologist, like our experts at the Lung & Allergy Institute of Los Angeles.
Causes of infant apnea
Infant apnea typically occurs due to the immaturity of the central nervous system. The brain doesn’t properly signal the muscles to breathe, so breathing temporarily stops. In rarer cases, infant sleep apnea may occur due to bleeding in the brain, drug exposure, a birth defect, an infection, respiratory disease, acid reflux or problems with the heart or blood vessels. In addition, infant apnea most commonly occurs in premature babies.
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
Successful infant sleep apnea treatment begins with a definitive diagnosis – something our specialists are vastly experienced in providing. To begin, we will perform a full physical examination and collect detailed information about your baby’s symptoms. From there, we will measure the amount of oxygen present in their blood, monitor their breathing and heart rate, and order x-rays.
Depending on the findings of our initial examination, we may also order a polysomnogram – the test that is most commonly used to diagnose infant apnea. This test measures your baby’s brain waves, eye movement, breathing, oxygen levels, snoring and gasping sounds throughout sleep. Performed in a lab for the most accurate results, the outcome of this test will provide us with a definitive diagnosis.
How is infant apnea treated?
Typically, infant apnea is treated in two ways. To begin, we will suggest using a monitor to track your baby’s breathing and heart rate. From there, we may also recommend medication that works to stimulate the central nervous system and ensure uninterrupted breathing throughout the night. Fortunately, most babies will outgrow infant apnea with the proper treatment.
If you suspect your baby suffers from infant apnea, we encourage you to seek among the best infant apnea treatment Los Angeles has available as soon as possible. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment, and let us help you treat your baby’s condition, restore normal breathing and prevent complications from developing.Contact Us