Instrumentation for the detection and interruption of apnea episodes for premature newborn

Apnea of prematurity is very frequent in premature newborns (PNB). If the apnea episode is not interrupted in time, it can cause several damages to the newborn’s central nervous system. In this paper, we introduce a novel technology for detecting apnea of prematurity episodes, based on cardiac pulse frequency (PF) and arterial oxygen saturation (SpO2) simultaneously, and using vibrotactile stimulation to interrupt such episodes. The thresholds of the newborns’ PF and SpO2 had been established to identify the apnea episode automatically through the proposed system: for babies 35 weeks gestation, PF is 100 bpm and SpO2 80%; for babies >35 weeks gestation, PF is 80 bpm and SpO2 80%. The system used vibrotactile stimuli at 250 Hz for 4s. To manage the system that activates the vibratory device automatically and registers those parameters, a program had been developed. It registers apnea occurrence, period of manual stimulation and vibratory stimulation duration. This technique was tested on 4 PNB. It was observed 10 apnea episodes and the device was successful in the detection of all of them. The vibrotactile stimulation was capable of promoting the return of respiratory movements in 9 of the 10 detected events of apnea and seemed to be a promising means of handling them.