Literally, this means cessation of breathing. It is common for premature newborn infants to stop breathing for a few seconds. They almost always restart on their own, but occasionally they need stimulation or other drug therapy to maintain regular breathing. The heart rate often slows with apnea. This slowing of the heart rate is called bradycardia. The combination of apnea and bradycardia is often called an A & B spell and refers to slowing of the heart rate in response to apnea. As premature infants mature and grow, apnea gradually becomes less frequent. No relationship between apnea and SIDS has ever been proven.
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