Prevention of apnea and bradycardia in low birthweight infants

D. C. Shannon, F. Gotay, I. M. Stein, M. C. Rogers, I. D. Todres, F. M. Moylan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The efficacy of theophylline in preventing severe apnea was evaluated in 17 low birthweight infants (mean weight, 1,400 gm). Apnea was detected and accurately quantified by 13 hour pneumogram recordings and correlated with serum theophylline levels. Nursing observations coupled with on line alarm systems detected only 39% of severe apneic episodes as compared to the pneumogram recording technique. Theophylline in six hourly oral doses (1.5 to 4.0 mg/kg) yielded two hour serum concentrations of 6.6 to 11.0 μg/ml which completely controlled apneic spells exceeding 20 seconds in duration and markedly reduced 10 to 19 second apneic episodes and any resultant bradycardia. At these serum levels, toxicity was not observed. Therapy with theophylline should be instituted at a dose of 2 to 3 mg/kg every six hours and the optimum therapeutic dose should be individualized as determined by objective quantitation of apnea and serum theophylline concentration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-594
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 1975

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Prevention of apnea and bradycardia in low birthweight infants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this