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Less Cerebral Oxygenation Seen in Prone-Sleeping Infants

Tissue oxygenation index lower in active sleep and quiet sleep in these babies

MONDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Infants experience decreased cerebral oxygenation while sleeping on their stomachs, which may give insight into the increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome associated with prone sleeping, according to research published online Feb. 28 in Pediatrics.

Flora Y. Wong, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., of Monash University in Clayton, Australia, and colleagues performed daytime polysomnography in 17 healthy infants at ages 2 to 4 weeks, 2 to 3 months, and 5 to 6 months, and also measured blood pressure and tissue oxygenation index (TOI) to assess the effect of sleep position, sleep state, and age on cerebral oxygenation in the first six months of infancy.

The researchers found TOI to be lower in both quiet sleep (QS) and active sleep (AS) at age 2 to 4 weeks in infants who slept in the prone position, and this held true in QS at age 2 to 3 months. TOI was lower in AS than QS at age 2 to 4 weeks. At age 5 to 6 months, TOI was greater in AS and profoundly reduced in QS.

"In healthy infants, cerebral oxygenation is reduced during sleep in the prone position. This reduction may underpin the reduced arousability from sleep exhibited by healthy infants who sleep prone, a finding that provides new insight into potential risks of prone sleeping and mechanisms of sudden infant death syndrome," the authors write.

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