Skin blood flow changes during apneic spells in preterm infants

H.E. Suichies, J.G. Aarnoudse, A. Okken, H.W. Jentink, F.F.M. de Mul, Jan Greve

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Changes in skin blood flow during apneic spells were determined in 18 preterm infants using a diode laser Doppler flow meter without light conducting fibres. Heart rate, nasal air flow, impedance pneumography, skin and incubator temperature and laser Doppler skin blood flow were recorded simultaneously in each infant. During 212 apneic spells with a duration of 11.6 ± 7.5 s (mean ± S.D.) (range 6.0–48.0 s), the laser Doppler skin blood flow was measured. In all children except one, the majority of the apneic spells was associated with a decrease in skin blood flow. During 155 apneic spells (73%) skin blood flow decreased significantly P < 0.025), the maximum decrease being 16.7 ± 14.8%, 28.5 ± 23.9% and 18.9 ± 16.1% (mean ± S.D.) for central, obstructive and mixed apneic spells, respectively. The decrease in skin blood flow started immediately after the beginning of apneic spells in 71%, the rest started with a mean delay of 3.4 s (range 0.1–7.0 s). No relation was found between the decrease in skin blood flow and the duration of the apneic spells. Thirty-four percent of the apneic spells were accompanied by bradycardia. In apneic spells accompanied by bradycardia the decrease in skin blood flow was not related to the fall in heart rate.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)155-163
JournalEarly human development
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1989


  • apneic spells
  • Skin blood flow
  • Laser-Doppler
  • bradycardia
  • preterm infant
  • IR-70535
  • apnea

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