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Apnea & Bradycardia

Winning Connecticut Apnea and Bradycardia Lawyers Ready To Fight For You

A father carrying his newborn child.Apnea and bradycardia are birth injuries that can potentially lead to serious complications. If your newborn has been diagnosed with apnea and bradycardia, here is some important information for you to know:

Information about Apnea and Bradycardia

What Is Apnea?

Apnea is a medical condition that is characterized by periods of not breathing for 20 seconds or longer. While it is most common during sleep, newborns can experience apnea at all times of the day. During periods of apnea, a newborn’s skin may turn pale or begin to turn blue. With preemies, apnea is also commonly called apnea of prematurity (AOP).

What is Bradycardia?

Bradycardia is the medical term for an unusually low heart rate caused by a drop in a newborn’s blood oxygen level. A typical heart rate for a newborn is anywhere from 120 to 160 beats per minute, which is two to three times the normal rate for a healthy adult. In a typical case, a newborn will experience intermittent periods of bradycardia for up to the first two or three months of life.

How Is Apnea Linked to Bradycardia?

Apnea and bradycardia are linked because not breathing (apnea) can reduce a newborn’s blood oxygen level, which can in turn lower his or her heart rate (bradycardia). In fact, they are so closely linked that the medical profession often refers to apnea and bradycardia as “As and Bs.”

What Causes Apnea and Bradycardia?

Apnea and bradycardia can have a number of different causes. They are most common among premature babies who are born without fully developed nervous systems and who, generally speaking, are more vulnerable to health complications. However, they are potential risks for all newborns. The causes of apnea and bradycardia include:

  • Brain tissue damage
  • Certain types of infections
  • Exposure to heat or cold
  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
  • Issues with the heart or blood vessels
  • Overextension of the newborn’s neck
  • Restricted airway
  • Use of feeding tubes or suctioning

How Can Doctors Cause Apnea and Bradycardia?

In many situations, apnea and bradycardia can be avoided with appropriate medical care. By the same token, improper medical care can cause – or worsen – the effects of apnea and bradycardia. For example, common medical errors associated with apnea and bradycardia include:

  • Failure to diagnose and treat health risks during pregnancy and labor
  • Failure to protect the fetus from tissue or nerve damage during delivery
  • Failure to diagnose the symptoms of apnea and bradycardia or order necessary tests in order to provide an accurate diagnosis
  • Failure to adequately monitor newborns at risk for apnea and bradycardia
  • Failure to provide timely and appropriate treatment for a newborn diagnosed with apnea and bradycardia

What Are the Short-Term and Long-Term Effects?

Newborns diagnosed with apnea and bradycardia can typically avoid long-term effects with appropriate management of their medical care. Once babies’ central nervous systems fully develop, they can effectively “outgrow” the breathing challenges they faced during their first few weeks or months. However, if not properly managed, apnea and bradycardia can cause lasting, and potentially permanent, complications. In particular, the reduced oxygen flow associated with apnea and bradycardia can lead to brain damage and developmental disabilities.

In relatively rare cases, apnea and bradycardia can also increase a newborn’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other potentially fatal complications.

Connecticut Apnea and Bradycardia Attorneys Representing Families

A newborn being monitored in NICU.

If your child has been diagnosed with apnea and bradycardia, we strongly recommend that you speak with an attorney about your family’s legal rights. Even short-term treatment costs can be significant. And if your child is at risk for long-term or permanent complications, the financial toll could become insurmountable.

At Berkowitz Hanna, we represent families throughout Connecticut in birth injury claims against their health care providers. We are intimately familiar with the medical issues associated with apnea, bradycardia, and other birth injuries, and we have an extensive record of helping families secure just compensation. We work with trusted doctors who can accurately diagnose the cause and potential long-term effects of your newborn’s condition, and our Connecticut apnea and bradycardia lawyers will work with you one-on-one to explain your options and make sure you remain fully informed every step of the way.

Contact Us 24/7 for a Free Initial Consultation

If you would like to speak with one of our Connecticut apnea and bradycardia attorneys about your newborn’s condition and your family’s legal rights, please call us at 203-447-0000 or contact us online. Your initial consultation is completely free, and you will not pay anything unless we secure just compensation for your family.