Comparison of heart rate responses during cortical and subcortical arousals in term and preterm infants

  • Hanzer M
  • Kerbl R
  • Urlesberger B
 et al. 
  • 5


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 7


    Citations of this article.


The aim of this study was to determine whether prematurity affects heart rate responses during spontaneous arousals. Polygraphic recordings were performed during undisturbed daytime naps in 35 preterm infants (gestational age at birth 32 ± 2 weeks) and 35 term infants. Arousals were scored according to the recommendations of the International Paediatric Work Group on Arousals and categorized either as cortical arousals (CA) or subcortical arousals (SCA). Heart rate (HR) and respiratory frequency (RF) were measured during arousal and during the 10-s and 30-s period before and after arousal. Changes in HR and RF were expressed as the percentage of modification normalized for the 30-s period preceding arousal. Altogether, 122 arousals in preterm infants (66 CA, 56 SCA) and 105 arousals in term infants (57 CA, 48 SCA) were scored. Mean duration of the arousal period was 9 ± 4 s and 8 ± 3 s, respectively. In term infants, a significant increase in HR during arousal could be shown (11.3 ± 8.2%; p < 0.001), whereas this increase was significantly greater during CA compared to SCA (13.7 ± 6.2% versus 8.4 ± 9.4%; p < 0.001). In contrast, HR decreased during arousal in preterm neonates (- 3.9 ± 19.3%; p < 0.05). These findings suggest that cardiovascular control seems to be maturationally delayed in preterm infants, which may contribute to their increased risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). © 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Polysomnography
  • SIDS

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • Marie Hanzer

  • Reinhold Kerbl

  • Berndt Urlesberger

  • Wilhelm Mueller

  • Gerhard Pichler

  • Heinz Zotter

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free