What are "A&B's"?
A&B's is just a short way of saying "apnea and bradycardia." Apnea is a pause in your baby's breathing for at least 20 seconds. Bradycardia is a heartbeat of less than 80 beats per minute. If your baby pauses in breathing, his/her heart rate may slow down. Your baby may be pale, blue, and/or limp.
Why does my baby have "A&B's"?
Apnea occurs most often in premature babies. Our brain tells us when to breathe. The premature baby's brain is still developing; sometimes the baby's brain "forgets" to tell the lungs to take a breath. Your baby will probably outgrow the "A&B's" before they go home from the hospital. A small number of babies have apnea because of infection or anemia. This apnea will disappear when infection or anemia has been treated.
What happens if my baby has "A&B's"?
If the baby has apnea and/or bradycardia, the monitor will alarm. The nurse will check the baby to make sure it is not a false alarm. If the baby is not breathing, the nurse will gently touch, stroke, or pat him/her. This will stimulate the baby to breathe. If the baby still doesn't breathe, the nurse might use the bag and mask at the bedside to give the baby a few breaths of oxygen until he/she takes a breath.
Is there any treatment for "A&B's"?
The baby can be given a medicine called "cafcit" which should decrease the number of times the apnea and bradycardia events occur. This medication stimulates the part of the brain that tells the baby to breathe. If the baby has frequent events, the doctor may prescribe other therapies to further decrease these events.