Neonatology pp 415-422 | Cite as

Control of Breathing in Newborns

  • Ruben Alvaro
  • Henrique Rigatto


There are at least three important considerations regarding the study of the control of breathing during the neonatal period. First, the neonates are noncooperative subjects. This means that we must study their respiratory control without their being aware and try to compare the measurements with those of the adult under similar conditions. This is difficult to do. Second, measurements in the neonate are usually made, by necessity, in the decubitus position, whereas those in the adult subject are usually made in the sitting or standing position [1, 2]. Third, babies are usually studied with a nosepiece because they are nose breathers; adults are usually studied using a mouthpiece. These methodological differences have made comparison of breathing in newborns with that in adult subjects difficult to interpret. There is currently a major need for studies to be done using similar methodology. Unless there is some consistency in the methodology, it is hard to define what is actually distinct or unique about the control of breathing in the neonate. In recent years, we have experienced tremendous advances in the field of respiratory control, and we are now witnessing the initial discovery of several of the genes that control the development and maturation of multiple neurally controlled respiratory functions


Sleep State Periodic Breathing Central Apnea Obstructive Apnea Peripheral Chemoreceptor 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruben Alvaro
    • 1
  • Henrique Rigatto
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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