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Systematic review
In preterm infants with recurrent apnoea, methylxanthine reduces the number of episodes and the use of mechanical ventilation in the short term; caffeine is also associated with improved longer term outcomes
  1. Luigi Corvaglia1,
  2. Arianna Aceti1
  1. 1Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, University of Bologna, S Orsola Malpighi Hospital, Bologna, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Luigi Corvaglia
    Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, University of Bologna, S Orsola Malpighi Hospital, via Massarenti, 11, 40138 Bologna, Italy; luigi.corvaglia{at}

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Infant apnoea is defined as a cessation of breathing that lasts for more than 20 s, or lasts less than 20 s and is associated with cyanosis, marked pallor, hypotonia or bradycardia.1 Recurrent apnoeas occur frequently in preterm infants, and incidence and severity are inversely related to gestational age.2

It has been previously demonstrated that methylxanthines, such as caffeine and theophylline, can reduce the frequency of apnoeas in preterm infants. However, some short-term adverse effects, such as tachycardia and feeding intolerance, have been reported, and only few trials have investigated potential long-term effects on growth and neurodevelopmental outcome.3


The review aims to determine the effect of methylxanthines on …

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  • Competing interests None.