What is a brief resolved unexplained event?

A brief resolved unexplained event (BRUE) is a medical term for an event in which any of the following may happen to your baby:

  • They may seem to stop breathing.
  • Their skin may change color.
  • Their muscles may relax and tighten.
  • They may seem to faint (pass out).

After these changes, a baby quickly recovers and returns to normal. BRUE occurs suddenly and can be scary for families and caregivers to witness.

How do doctors diagnose BRUE?

Doctors diagnose BRUE by hearing from your/your family and examining your baby. The results of hearing your experience and examining your baby show that they had a BRUE. The results also show that there was no sign of a worrisome cause for the event. An underlying cause of a single BRUE is often not found.

After a BRUE, is my baby at a higher risk for other medical concerns?

Your baby is at a low risk for having a medical condition that caused this event because of the following:

  • They are older than 60 days.
  • They were born at, or close to, to their due date (born on time).
  • They did not need cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by a medical professional.
  • The event lasted less than one (1) minute.
  • There was only one (1) event.

What should I do if my baby has another BRUE?

If your baby has another event similar to the BRUE, they need to return to their pediatrician or the Emergency Room for further evaluation. If you are worried that your baby is not breathing or is very sick, call 911.

Should my baby stay in the hospital after a BRUE?

Your baby was determined to be low risk for having another event, so they do not need to stay in the hospital. They also do not need other blood tests, imaging tests (such as x-rays) or at-home monitoring (checking) of their heart and lungs.

Is my baby at a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) after a BRUE?

No, your baby is not at a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) after a BRUE. There is no association between BRUE and SIDS. For more information on safe sleep, visit the American Academy of Pediatric's page on safe sleep. SIDS is a condition in which a baby (usually 1 year or younger) dies suddenly, usually during sleep.

Reminders for all families with young children

Although a BRUE does not make your child more likely to need CPR, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends all families know CPR. For more information about enrolling in a CPR class, contact your child’s doctor or visit the American Red Cross or American Heart Association.

Rev. 2/2023. Mass General for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.