What causes brief resolved unexplained events (BRUE) (apparent life-threatening events) (ALTEs) in infants?

Updated: Feb 28, 2019
  • Author: Patrick L Carolan, MD; Chief Editor: Girish D Sharma, MD, FCCP, FAAP  more...
  • Print


The cause of brief resolved unexplained events (BRUEs) in infants reflects a differential diagnosis that includes an array of congenital or acquired disorders. Approximately 10-25% of apparent life-threatening events may remain unexplained following a thorough evaluation.

From retrospective studies, apparent life-threatening events have been associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease, viral lower respiratory tract infection, pertussis, sepsis and/or meningitis, seizures, metabolic disorders, toxic ingestion, cardiac dysrhythmia (eg, long QT syndrome, supraventricular tachycardia), anemia, nonaccidental trauma, or structural CNS, cardiac (ductal-dependent lesion), or airway anomaly.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!