Aim The aim of this study was to determine the frequency of apnoeas in previously healthy young infants with acute respiratory tract infection (ARI) and correlate their occurrence with isolated micro-organisms, clinical findings, disease severity and outcome. Methods We performed reverse transcriptase real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on the nasal wash specimens of a prospective cohort study of 582 children with ARI. Clinical data on a subgroup of 241 infants under three months of age, with and without apnoeas, were compared. Results Our study found that 19 (7.9%) of the 241 infants under three months old had a history of apnoeas: eight had a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), five had a different virus than RSV and seven RT-PCR results were negative. Infants with apnoeas were more likely to have cyanosis, had longer hospital stays and required extra oxygen for a longer period. Most patients with parental reported apnoeas also experienced apnoeas during hospitalisation. Conclusion This study observed apnoeas irrespective of the isolated micro-organism, and we hypothesise that they were related to the pathophysiology of the respiratory infection and not to the micro-organism itself. Parental reported apnoeas were a major warning sign and predicted that apnoeas would occur in hospital.

Acute respiratory tract infection, Apnoea, Child, Respiratory arrest, Respiratory syncytial virus,
Acta Paediatrica: promoting child health
Department of Immunology

Wishaupt, J, Van Den Berg, E, Van Wijk, T, van der Ploeg, T, Versteegh, F, & Hartwig, N. (2016). Paediatric apnoeas are not related to a specific respiratory virus, and parental reports predict hospitalisation. Acta Paediatrica: promoting child health, 105(5), 542–548. doi:10.1111/apa.13375