A home apnea monitor is a portable machine used to monitor a baby's heart beat and breathing after coming home from the hospital.
When the baby has a heart rate or breathing rate that is below the limits set on the monitor, an alarm goes off. The monitor is smaller and less complex than those used in the hospital.
WHY IS A HOME MONITOR USED?
A home monitor is used to monitor babies who still have minor problems with breathing and heart rate. A baby is very rarely discharged home with a home apnea monitor. Those who may be sent home with such a machine include infants who have persistent apnea or severe reflux, a family history of SIDS, or who need home oxygen or a breathing machine.
HOW IS A MONITOR PLACED?
Stick-on patches (electrodes) or a belt will be attached to the baby’s chest or stomach. A home nursing company usually teaches parents how to use the monitor, and provides support for the monitor as well. The length of time the monitor is needed depends on how many real alarms go off. The average length of home monitoring is about 2-3 months.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF A MONITOR?
Monitors are electrical instruments that can fail when the power is out, or if there is some electrical problem. There is no risk to the baby in these cases. There may be some skin irritation from the stick-on electrodes, but this is usually mild.