To determine the neurophysiological effects of aminophylline on apnoea of prematurity, the brain stem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs) of 30 apnoeic infants and 34 age matched controls were evaluated and compared. After six days of treatment with aminophylline, the brain stem conduction time (interpeak latency of I-V) in apnoeic infants decreased compared with controls of a similar post-conceptional age. The mean latencies of the peaks and interpeaks of all waves except wave I were significantly lower in the apnoeic infants after than before receiving aminophylline. No significant differences were found in the latencies of BAEPs between the apnoeic infants who responded and those who did not respond to aminophylline treatment, however. These results suggest that aminophylline may enhance conduction along central auditory pathways and stimulate the regulatory effect on the respiratory centre of the brain stem.
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