Apparent Life-Threatening Events and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Comparison of Risk Factors

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To compare the risk factors of 153 cases of apparent life-threatening event (ALTE) enrolled in the multicenter Collaborative Home Infant Monitoring Evaluation (CHIME) from 1994 to 1998 with the published risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Study design

Trained CHIME interviewers gathered histories of infants with ALTE who met the criteria. The following risk factors were analyzed: male predominance, gestational age, low birth weight, very low birth weight, incidence of small for gestational age (SGA), age at the event, multiparity, maternal age, and smoking. Population-based SIDS studies with >100 deaths, focusing on 1 or more pertinent risk factors and carried out during the decade in which CHIME data were collected, were chosen for comparison.


One of the 153 infants with ALTE in this study died during follow-up (0.6%). CHIME ALTE differed significantly from SIDS in 4 respects: fewer infants with low birth weight and SGA at birth, fewer teenage pregnancies, and a younger infant age at ALTE.


Although a number of risk factors for ALTE are similar to those for SIDS, the differences warrant a separate focus on ALTE beyond that on SIDS.

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