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:7/30/2014)... Responding to the call to ... to an increasingly diverse patient population, three leading ... expertise to the publication of a new textbook ... and Cultural Competence in Health Care: A Systems ... a professor in the Management Division at the ...
(Date:7/30/2014)... returning National Guard soldiers were more likely to ... life setbacks, including job loss, legal problems, divorce, ... military families. Results of the study by researchers ... are published online in the American Journal ... a major concern for reservists returning home. Nearly ...
(Date:7/30/2014)... Recently, the Kansas Health Image ... start-up fees for hospitals and clinics who request ... September 30, 2014. , Modern healthcare providers are ... complexity of digital patient information, often referred to ... data silos. , Traditional health IT solutions, including ...
(Date:7/30/2014)... 2014 MyMobileUniversity (MMU) is a global ... an award winning mobile and web based learning company ... 2004. , MyMobileUni.com’s platform makes it a one-stop centre ... has links to the world’s leading Massive Open Online ... experts from all over the world who have content ...
(Date:7/30/2014)... Daily Gossip mentions that the "Panic Away" method developed ... stop anxiety and eliminate all associated symptoms. It has been ... 150,000 people in getting their lives back. , The Panic ... system that will teach sufferers different techniques on how to ... to access, as it is available in a complex guide. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):Health News:NLN CEO Co-Authors Textbook to Advance Diversity and Cultural Competence Across Health Care Professions 2Health News:NLN CEO Co-Authors Textbook to Advance Diversity and Cultural Competence Across Health Care Professions 3Health News:Vets' alcohol problems linked to stress on the home front 2Health News:Kansas Health Image Exchange Announces Open Enrollment; Virtual CD from Offsite Image Solves Problems with Unreadable Patient Images, Delayed Diagnosis 2Health News:Kansas Health Image Exchange Announces Open Enrollment; Virtual CD from Offsite Image Solves Problems with Unreadable Patient Images, Delayed Diagnosis 3Health News:MyMobileUniversity Inviting Individuals, Who Are Passionate about the Universal Right to Education, to Come on Board as Goodwill Ambassadors 2Health News:MyMobileUniversity Inviting Individuals, Who Are Passionate about the Universal Right to Education, to Come on Board as Goodwill Ambassadors 3Health News:Panic Away Review Reveals How to Stop Anxiety 2
... (OTC,Bulletin Board: SNKTY), a Life Sciences company engaged ... of healthy aging, today announced,that Dr. Neil Sadick ... the American Academy of Dermatology in San Antonio, ... Dr. Sadick, a prominent New York,dermatologist, outlined the ...
... patients receiving aggressive drug therapy to cut blood sugar ... large North American trial designed to aggressively lower the ... heart disease has been halted because of an unexpected ... , Federal health officials announced Wednesday that 257 ...
... Senetek PLC (OTC,Bulletin Board: SNKTY), a Life ... target the science of healthy aging, today announced,the ... ., Mr. Frank Massino, Senetek,s Chairman and ... greater visibility to Senetek at this,significant time in ...
... Introduced during the much anticipated ... America., TORONTO, Feb. 6 /PRNewswire/ - IgeaCare Systems ... introduction of,ConversationPRO(TM) for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0., "Contact ... CRM,screen launch populated with the caller contact information, along ...
... ST. LOUIS, Feb. 6 Cejka Search, ... firm, recently announced that,several of its leaders ... Retention Strategies Audio Conference and the American,College ... Leadership., Audio Conference: Retention Strategies to ...
... CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Feb. 6 From ... improvements, customer feedback has,enhanced services, products and ... recent study by Best Practices, LLC,s Global ... initiatives is key,to better aligning the customer ...
Cached Medicine News:Health News:Dr. Neil Sadick Presents on Pyratine-6(TM) at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology 2Health News:Deaths Halt Part of Large Diabetes Trial 2Health News:Deaths Halt Part of Large Diabetes Trial 3Health News:Deaths Halt Part of Large Diabetes Trial 4Health News:Senetek PLC Announces Launch of New Website 2Health News:Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Users now can include Telephony and Call Recording features by adding ConversationPRO(TM) from VoiceGate, a Division of IgeaCare Systems Inc. 2Health News:Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Users now can include Telephony and Call Recording features by adding ConversationPRO(TM) from VoiceGate, a Division of IgeaCare Systems Inc. 3Health News:Cejka Search Experts Present Latest Developments in Physician Retention and CEO Leadership Skills 2Health News:Customer Experience Conference, Feb. 25-27: Sharing New Insights on Winning Customer Loyalty 2
Other medicine definitionOther Tags