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Apparent Life-Threatening Event
- Digestive problems, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Neurological problems, such as a seizure disorder or problems with the breathing center in the brain
- Respiratory problems, such as lung infection or something blocking the airway
- Heart problems, such as an abnormal heartbeat
- Problems with the endocrine system, which includes the glands and hormones
- Metabolic problems, such as hypoglycemia
- Child abuse
- Birth before 37 weeks gestation
- Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
- General anesthesia
- Feeding problems, such as feeding too quickly, coughing, or choking during feeding
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- Breathing that stops
- Changes in skin color—blue, red, or pale
- Change in muscle tone—floppy or tense
- Blood and urine tests may be done to look for infections or other problems in the body’s fluids.
- X-rays and ultrasounds may also be done to take images of your baby’s bodily structures.
Treating the Underlying Cause
American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org
American Academy of Pediatricians http://www.healthychildren.org
Canadian Paediatric Society http://www.cps.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
ALTE—Apparent life-threatening event. Auckland District Health Board website. Available at: http://www.adhb.govt.nz/starshipclinicalguidelines/ALTE%20Apparent%20Life%20Threatening%20Event.htm. Updated April 2012. Accessed November 1, 2013.
Apparent life-threatening event. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 19, 2013. Accessed November 1, 2013.
Apparent life threatening event ALTE. The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne website. Available at: http://www.rch.org.au/clinicalguide/guideline%5Findex/Apparent%5FLife%5FThreatening%5FEvent%5FALTE/. Accessed November 1, 2013.
Clinical practice guideline: apparent life threatening event (ALTE). Prince Margaret Hospital website. Available at: http://www.pmh.health.wa.gov.au/development/manuals/clinical%5Fpractice%5Fguidelines/documents/alte%5Fcpg.pdf. Updated January 2009. Accessed November 1, 2013.
Hall K, Zalman B. Evaluation and management of apparent life-threatening events in children. AM Fam Physician. 2005 June 15;71(12):2301-2308.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 11/2013
- Update Date: 01/13/2014