A brief resolved unexplained event (BRUE) in infancy is a common reason for visiting the emergency department. However, little is known about the long-term outcomes of such an event. This study evaluates future mortality, morbidity, and/or developmental outcome after a BRUE.
A single-center retrospective study performed in 2009 to 2013 included 87 hospitalized infants (<1 year old) fitting the American Academy of Pediatrics' criteria of a lower-risk BRUE, with 2 exceptions: no time limit to duration of episode and no age limit of ≥60 days. Hospitalized infants were followed up for up to 5 years via a telephone questionnaire to assess mortality rates, developmental delay, neurological/cardiovascular morbidity, and future hospitalizations.
Most infants (94%) who experienced a BRUE were hospitalized before 6 months of age. No cases of mortality occurred. In terms of developmental outcome, 1 child (1.15%) was diagnosed as having a global developmental delay and 12 (13.7%) with a language delay, similar to prevalence rates by age in the United States. Three children (3.4%) were diagnosed as having an autism spectrum disorder, with higher prevalence rates than the global average. Simple febrile and nonfebrile seizures were seen at a rate similar to the general population. None of the children developed cardiovascular disease. Rehospitalization occurred in 22% of cases: 90% for common acute pediatric causes and 10% for recurrent choking events secondary to gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Low-risk hospitalized infants younger than 1 year who experienced a BRUE seem to generally have an excellent prognosis.