Incidence of apparent life-threatening events and post-neonatal risk factors

Maria Cristina Monti, Paola Borrelli, Luana Nosetti, Silvia Tajè, Milena Perotti, Domenico Bonarrigo, Marco Stramba Badiale, Cristina Montomoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Even though a standard clinical definition for an apparent life-threatening event (ALTE) was established more than two decades ago, the specific International Classification of Disease (ICD) code was firstly included only in 2012. This study estimated the incidence of ALTEs in Northern Italy, together with features and risk factors. Methods: We used the Lombardy Region Hospital Discharge Records (HDR) database to estimate the cumulative incidence for ALTE during 2002–2006 and drew up a risk profile by comparing cases with and without ALTE who were followed in infancy. Results: There were 246 infants registered in the HDR with ALTE putative diagnostic codes, suggesting a cumulative incidence of 4.1 per 1000 live births in the study area. Of the 148 cases with clinical co-morbidities, 31% had gastroesophageal reflux and 7% had acute respiratory infections. We analysed follow-up data from 15 ALTE cases and 1619 healthy infants and found that the significant risk factors were gastroesophageal reflux and a family history of sudden death. Conclusion: We established the regional incidence of ALTE and found risk factors in infants considered healthy in the first week of life and without pathological perinatal conditions. The systematic use of the specific ALTE ICD code (R68.13, ICD-10-CM) and common knowledge about ALTE diagnostic guidelines are clearly needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-210
Number of pages7
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Apparent life-threatening event
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Hospital discharge records
  • Incidence
  • Infant morbidity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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