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Is prone sleeping dangerous for neonates? Polysomnographic characteristics and NDN gene analysis

1 Department of Pediatrics, Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital, Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, New Taipei; School of Medicine, Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan
2 Department of Pediatrics, Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital, Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, New Taipei, Taiwan

Correspondence Address:
Li-Ping Tsai,
Department of Pediatrics, Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital, Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, 289, Jianguo Road, New Taipei
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/tcmj.tcmj_29_18

Objective: Prone sleep is an identified risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome, possibly due to reduced blood pressure, cerebral oxygenation, and impaired cerebral vascular control. Cardiac and respiratory responses in neonates during supine and prone sleep have not been reported. Materials and Methods: In this study, daytime polysomnography (PSG) data from 17 neonates aged 2–3 days during supine and prone sleep were reported and the NDN gene, an important gene for neonatal respiratory control, was sequenced for correlation with neonatal respiratory parameters. Heart rate (HR), oxygen saturation, carbon dioxide concentration, sleep stages, central apnea index (CAI), obstructive apnea/hypopnea index (OAHI), and oxygen nadir were compared between supine and prone sleep and between participants with different single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the NDN gene. Results: During prone sleep, neonates had a faster HR, decreased oxygen saturation, and a longer duration of oxygen saturation <90% than during supine sleep, suggesting that cardiopulmonary responsiveness was impaired. Sleep efficiency, sleep stages, oxygen nadir, and carbon dioxide tension were not different during supine and prone sleep. Central apnea occurred more significantly than obstructive apnea. During supine and prone sleep, the CAI was 3.3 ± 2.9/h and 2.3 ± 2.6/h and the OAHI was 0.6 ± 0.7/h and 0.6 ± 0.8/h, respectively. We found one SNP rs3743340 in the NDN gene that had no effect on the sleep and respiratory parameters of PSG. Conclusion: Tachycardia and respiratory instability were recorded in neonates during prone sleep, suggesting that neonates are vulnerable to cardiopulmonary events during prone sleep. Therefore, young neonates should be kept in the supine sleep position unless there are contraindications.

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