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The effects of caffeine on heart rate variability in newborns with apnea of prematurity



Apnea of prematurity is a common complication in premature newborns and caffeine is a widespread medication used to treat this complication. Caffeine may have adverse effects on the cardiovascular and central nervous system, yet its effects on the autonomic nervous system modulation of heart rate have not been studied in premature newborns, which was the objective of our study.

Study Design:

We prospectively studied 21 premature newborns who were treated with caffeine. We analyzed heart rate variability by power spectral density and by dynamic nonlinear analyses methods.


There were no changes in heart rate, blood pressure or the autonomic nervous system tone following administration of caffeine, nor were the nonlinear dynamical properties of the system altered by caffeine.


Caffeine does not have detrimental effects on heart rate variablility, heart rate or blood pressure in conventional doses given to premature newborns.

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Part of the present manuscript has been submitted for the partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Medicine in the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology.

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Correspondence to A Weissman.

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Ulanovsky, I., Haleluya, N., Blazer, S. et al. The effects of caffeine on heart rate variability in newborns with apnea of prematurity. J Perinatol 34, 620–623 (2014).

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