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Volume 15 No. 03
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Accepted Papers

Scientific Investigations

Polysomnography Reference Values in Healthy Newborns

Ameet S. Daftary, MBBS, MS1; Hasnaa E. Jalou, MD1; Lori Shively, RN1; James E. Slaven, MS2; Stephanie D. Davis, MD3
1Division of Pediatric Pulmonology, Allergy and Sleep Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, Indiana; 2Department of Biostatistics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana; 3Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Study Objectives:

Polysomnography (PSG) is increasingly used in the assessment of infants. Newborn PSG reference values based on recent standardization are not available. This study provides reference values for PSG variables in healthy newborn infants.


Cross-sectional study of normal term newborn infants using standardized PSG collection and American Academy of Sleep Medicine interpretation criteria.


Thirty infants born between 37 and 42 weeks gestation underwent PSG testing before 30 days of age (mean 19.6 days). The infants had a mean sleep efficiency of 71% with average proportions of transitional, NREM and REM sleep estimated at 16.1%, 43.3% and 40.6% respectively. Mean arousal index was 14.7 events/h with respiratory arousal index of 1.2 events/h. Mean apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) was 14.9 events/h. Central, obstructive, and mixed apnea indices were 5.4, 2.3, and 1.2 events/h respectively. Mean oxygen saturation in sleep was 97.9% with a nadir of 84.4%. Mean end tidal CO2 was 35.4 mmHg with an average of 6.2% of sleep time spent above end-tidal CO2 45 mmHg and 0.6% above 50 mmHg.


The sleep efficiency was significantly lower and the AHI was significantly higher compared to healthy children older than 1 year. The AHI was also higher than reported in healthy infants older than 1 month. These findings suggest current severity classifications of sleep apnea may not apply to newborn infants.


Daftarya AS, Jaloua HE, Shivelya L, Slavenb JE, Davisc SD. Polysomnography reference values in healthy newborns. J Clin Sleep Med. 2019;15(3):437–443.

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