An apparent life-threatening event (ALTE) is a set of symptoms in an infant that cause the caregiver to believe the child may be dying or has died. It may include disturbed breathing, change in color, choking or gagging. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may be needed at the time of the event.

The cause of ALTE is not always clear. Some likely causes of ALTE may include:

  • Digestive problems, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Neurological problems, such as a seizure disorder or problems with the breathing center in the brain
  • Respiratory problems, such as lung infection or something blocking the airway
  • Infections
  • Heart problems, such as an abnormal heartbeat
  • Problems with the endocrine system, which includes the glands and hormones
  • Metabolic problems, such as hypoglycemia
  • Child abuse