Navigate Up

Heart Center - A-Z Index

#
J
Q
X
Z

Print This Page

Home apnea monitor - infants

Alternative Names

Apnea monitor for home use - infants

Information

A home apnea monitor is a portable machine used to monitor a baby's heartbeat and breathing after coming home from the hospital.

When the baby has a heart rate or breathing rate that is below the limits set on the monitor, an alarm goes off. The monitor is smaller and less complex than those used in the hospital.

WHY IS A HOME MONITOR USED?

A home monitor can be used to monitor babies who still have minor problems with breathing and heart rate. However, studies have not been able to show any benefit for babies on home monitors, so the monitors are not commonly used anymore. There may be special situations where one may be necessary, but most babies do not use home apnea monitors.

Those who may be sent home with such a machine include infants who have persistent apnea or severe reflux, a family history of SIDS, or who need home oxygen or a breathing machine.

HOW IS A MONITOR PLACED?

Stick-on patches (electrodes) or a belt will be attached to the baby’s chest or stomach. A home nursing company usually teaches parents how to use the monitor, and provides support for the monitor as well. The length of time the monitor is needed depends on how many real alarms go off. The average length of home monitoring is about 2 - 3 months.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF A MONITOR?

Monitors are electrical instruments that can fail when the power is out, or if there is some electrical problem. There is no risk to the baby in these cases. There may be some skin irritation from the stick-on electrodes, but this is usually mild.

References

Silvestri JM. Indications for home apnea monitoring (or not). Clin Perinatol. 2009;36:87-99.

Hunt CE, Hauck FR. Sudden infant death syndrome. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 367.

Updated: 8/2/2011

Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com