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Bradycardia in Premature Infants

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Updated June 08, 2012

Definition: A slower than normal heart rhythm. In newborns, a heart rate is termed bradycardia if it falls below 100 beats per minute in a baby less than 1250 g (2 lb 12 oz) or to less than 80 beats per minute in a bigger baby. Bradycardia is often associated with apnea of prematurity, and when apnea and bradycardia come together they are often called “As and Bs.” When babies are in the NICU, their hearts are monitored, and episodes of bradycardia are treated with stimulation. If bradycardia continues, medications such as caffeine may be used to treat the condition.
Pronunciation: BRAY-dee-CAR-dee-uh
Also Known As: Bradys, "Bs" (in "As and Bs")
Examples:
When the baby started to brady, the nurse stimulated her and her heart began to beat faster.
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