• Open Access

Unexpected collapse of healthy newborn infants: risk factors, supervision and hypothermia treatment

Authors

  • Nicolas J Pejovic,

    1. Department of Neonatology, Sachs' Children and Youth Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Eric Herlenius

    Corresponding author
    1. Neonatal Unit Q2:07, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
    • Department of Neonatology, Sachs' Children and Youth Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
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Correspondence

E Herlenius, M.D., Ph.D., Astrid Lindgren Children′s Hospital, Karolinska Institutet, S-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden.

Tel: +46-08-5177-0000 |

Fax: +46-08-5177-7353 |

Email: Eric.Herlenius@ki.se

Abstract

Aim

To determine the occurrence and risk factors of sudden unexpected postnatal collapse (SUPC) in presumably healthy newborn infants.

Methods

All live-born infants during a 30-month period, in five major delivery wards in Stockholm, were screened, and possible cases of SUPC thoroughly investigated. Infants were ≥35 weeks of gestation, had an Apgar score >8 at 10 min and collapsed within 24 h after birth. Maternal, infant, event characteristics and outcome data were collected.

Results

Twenty-six cases of SUPC were found among 68 364 live-born infants, an incidence of 38/100 000 live births. Sixteen of these cases of SUPC required resuscitation with ventilation >1 min, and 14 of these remained unexplained (21/100 000). Fifteen of the 26 children were found in a prone position, during skin-to-skin contact, 18 were primipara, and 13 occurred during unsupervised breastfeeding at <2 h of age. Three cases occurred during smart cellular phone use by the mother. Five developed hypoxic–ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) grade 2, and 4 underwent hypothermia treatment. Twenty-five infants had a favourable neurological outcome.

Conclusion

SUPC in apparent healthy babies is associated with initial, unsupervised breastfeeding, prone position, primiparity and distractions. Guidelines outlining the appropriate monitoring of newborns and safe early skin-to-skin contact should be implemented.

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