Navigation Links
Breath-holding spells


Breath holding spells are episodic occurrences that usually result in apnea, loss of consciousness, and changes in postural tone.

Breath holding spells occur in approximately 5% of the population with equal distribution between males and females. They are most common in children between 6 and 18 months and usually not present after 5 years of age. They are unusual before 6 months of age. A positive family history can be elicited in 25% of cases. It is often confused with epilepsy.

There are two types of breath holding spells. Cyanotic breath-holding spells are usually precipitated by anger or frustration although they may occur after a painful experience. The child cries and has forced exhalation leading to cyanosis (blue in color), loss of muscle tone, and loss of consciousness. The majority of children will regain consciousness and be fine within a minute or two, but some will fall asleep for an hour or so. Physiologically, there is often hypocapnea (low levels of carbon dioxide) and usually hypoxia (low levels of oxygen). The events are thought to occur due to a variety of factors, including the fact that the child is not breathing, there is increased intrathoracic pressure secondary to the Valsalva maneuver, and decreased cardiac output. This eventually leads to a significant decrease of circulation to the brain and ultimately, loss of consciousness. There is no "post ictal" phase (as is seen with seizures), no incontinence, and the child is fine in between spells. Electroencephalograms (EEG's) are normal in these children. There is no relationship to the development of seizures or cerebral injury.

With the second type, known as "Pallid" breath-holding spells, the most common stimulus is a painful event. The child turns pale (as opposed to blue) and loses consciousness with little if any crying. The EEG is also normal, and again there is no post ictal phase, nor incontinence. The child is usually alert within a minute or so. There may be some relationship with adulthood syncope in children with this type of spell.

A third type, known as "complicated" breath-holding spells, may simply be a more severe form of the two most common types. This type generally begins as either a cyanotic or pallid spell that then is associated with seizure like activity. An EEG taken while the child is not having a spell is still generally normal.

The diagnosis of a breath holding spell is made clinically. A good history including the sequence of events, lack of incontinence and no post ictal phase, help to make an accurate diagnosis. Some families are advised to tape the events to aid diagnosis. An electrocardiogram (ECG) may rule out cardiac arrhythmia as a cause. There is some evidence that children with anemia(especially iron deficiency) may be more prone to breath holding spells.

The most important treatment is reassurance to the family, because witnessing a breath-holding spell is a frightening experience for observers. There is generally no treatment available or needed for breath holding spells, as the child will eventually outgrow them.

References

  • Evans, Owen,B. Breath-Holding Spells. Pediatric Annals July 1997.
  • Anderson and Bluestone Breath Holding Spells Contemporary Pediatrics Jan, 2000
  • DiMario, Francis Prospective Study of Children with Cyanotic and Pallid Breath Holding Spells. Pediatrics February 2001

External links


'"/>


(Date:9/18/2014)... One of the most capable and ... ShandsCair Flight Program’s new EC155 B1, will ... at the Air Medical Transport Conference (AMTC), Sept. 22-24, ... into service ShandsCair EC155 and the Vanderbilt University ... AMTC highlight Airbus Helicopters broad, industry leading line-up of ...
(Date:9/18/2014)... THURSDAY, Sept. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Daily supplements ... protect against the development of age-related cataracts among men, ... suggested that one or both could help prevent cataracts. ... Women,s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and ... of selenium and vitamin E. The trial was initially ...
(Date:9/18/2014)... UT (PRWEB) September 18, 2014 Thousands ... will be recognizing their shared fundraising impact on 127 ... Sept. 25. , The first-ever Dance Marathon Day will ... $20 million projected to be raised by college and ... CMN Hospital. Donations generated through Dance Marathon campus programs ...
(Date:9/18/2014)... A group of international scientists have developed a new ... here . , The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)-led ... Tropical Diseases , describes the use of fecal samples ... have been exposed to the virus. This represents a ... can potentially change the way Ebola virus is studied ...
(Date:9/18/2014)... the Ebola virus invoke scary scenarios of deadly epidemics, ... are still providing researchers with new insights on how ... published online Sept. 18, 2014, in the journal ... Medical School Singapore detail how the Yersinia pestis bacteria ... the lymph nodes and eventually ride into the lungs ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):Health News:Airbus Helicopters Inc. Features Industry-leading Models at AMTC 2Health News:Airbus Helicopters Inc. Features Industry-leading Models at AMTC 3Health News:Airbus Helicopters Inc. Features Industry-leading Models at AMTC 4Health News:Vitamin E, Selenium Supplements Don't Seem to Prevent Cataracts 2Health News:250 Campuses Usher in School Year of Saving Kids’ Lives During First-Ever “Dance Marathon Day” on Sept. 25 2Health News:Research yields a game changer for improving understanding of Ebola and great apes 2Health News:Research yields a game changer for improving understanding of Ebola and great apes 3Health News:New insights on an ancient plague could improve treatments for infections 2
... , PASO ROBLES, Calif., July 28 ... California, will make silicone micro-implants such as surgical drains, catheter ... not routine is the incredibly precise tolerances demanded of these ... achieving consistently precise results to within .001 inch is no ...
... , MAITLAND, Fla. , July 28 ... treatment for infants with plagiocephaly and other head shape abnormalities, opened ... The Center currently also has offices in the Baltimore and Dallas ... orthoses, also commonly referred to as a cranial helmets or headbands. ...
... HARBIN, China, July 28 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ -- China ... Company") (Nasdaq: CSKI ), a,leading fully integrated ... China ("PRC"), today announced that the,Company is scheduled to ... in early August, 2009. , ...
... , VANCOUVER, July 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - QLT Inc. (NASDAQ: ... "Company") today announced encouraging interim data from an ongoing ... the punctal plug delivery system. These studies are part ... QLT,s wholly-owned subsidiary, QLT Plug Delivery, Inc. , Preliminary ...
... , , THE WOODLANDS, Texas, ... LXRX ), a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing breakthrough ... financial results for the three months and six months ended June 30, ... progress, including the recent initiation of a Phase 2 study of LX1032 ...
... MINNEAPOLIS, July 28 ATS Medical, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATSI ... that it will participate in two upcoming investor conferences. ... The Company will participate in the 9th Annual BMO ... in New York. Michael Kramer, CFO of ATS Medical, will ...
Cached Medicine News:Health News:When You Make Things That Get Implanted in People, Small Things Count 2Health News:New STAR Cranial Center of Excellence Offers Cutting-Edge Treatment to Central Florida Infants 2Health News:New STAR Cranial Center of Excellence Offers Cutting-Edge Treatment to Central Florida Infants 3Health News:New STAR Cranial Center of Excellence Offers Cutting-Edge Treatment to Central Florida Infants 4Health News:New STAR Cranial Center of Excellence Offers Cutting-Edge Treatment to Central Florida Infants 5Health News:China Sky One Medical, Inc. to Conduct Non-Deal Roadshow in Hong Kong and Singapore 2Health News:QLT announces interim data from a Phase II clinical trial and a device study for the Punctal Plug Drug Delivery System 2Health News:QLT announces interim data from a Phase II clinical trial and a device study for the Punctal Plug Drug Delivery System 3Health News:QLT announces interim data from a Phase II clinical trial and a device study for the Punctal Plug Drug Delivery System 4Health News:QLT announces interim data from a Phase II clinical trial and a device study for the Punctal Plug Drug Delivery System 5Health News:QLT announces interim data from a Phase II clinical trial and a device study for the Punctal Plug Drug Delivery System 6Health News:QLT announces interim data from a Phase II clinical trial and a device study for the Punctal Plug Drug Delivery System 7Health News:Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Provides Clinical Pipeline Update and Reports 2009 Second Quarter Financial Results 2Health News:Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Provides Clinical Pipeline Update and Reports 2009 Second Quarter Financial Results 3Health News:Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Provides Clinical Pipeline Update and Reports 2009 Second Quarter Financial Results 4Health News:Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Provides Clinical Pipeline Update and Reports 2009 Second Quarter Financial Results 5Health News:Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Provides Clinical Pipeline Update and Reports 2009 Second Quarter Financial Results 6Health News:Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Provides Clinical Pipeline Update and Reports 2009 Second Quarter Financial Results 7Health News:Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Provides Clinical Pipeline Update and Reports 2009 Second Quarter Financial Results 8Health News:ATS Medical to Participate at Upcoming Investor Conferences 2
Other medicine definitionOther Tags