Treatment Epileptic Apnea Infant

Apnea, or cessation of breathing for greater than 15 seconds, is usually not due to an epileptic seizure, particularly if apnea is the sole manifestation, and the patient has not been already treated with anticonvulsant medication. Apnea may be secondary to centrally mediated hypoventilation or an obstructive etiology. Apnea occurs commonly in the premature child, especially during active sleep. This "apnea of prematurity" is likely to be secondary to brainstem immaturity and is typically associated with bradycardia (A's and B's). Apnea may occur in the older infant and present as an acute life-

threatening event [previously called sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)]. Since apnea may also be an important sign of neurologic diseases such as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, intraventricular hemorrhage, infections, hypoglycemia, and medication side effect, an extensive search for an underlying etiology should be undertaken. If there are other concurrent manifestations, such as eye opening, eye deviation, mouth movements, tachycardia, or hypertension, an ictal etiology should be suspected (5,6).

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