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Neonatal Apnea is defined as a sudden interruption of breathing lasting approximately 20 seconds or a shorter respiratory pause associated with bradycardia and / or a reduction in the amount of oxygen in the blood in a premature baby.

Apnea episodes are due to an immaturity of the respiratory centers causing reduced signal transmission from the respiratory centers to the respiratory muscles.

This disease affects more than half of premature babies. Incidence, severity and duration are inversely related to gestational age, since it is more frequent in babies younger than 30 weeks of gestational age.