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Clinical Investigations: SLEEP |

Nasal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Use In Children With Obstructive Sleep Apnea Younger Than 2 Years of Age*

Ralph Downey, III, PhD; Ronald M. Perkin, MD, MA; Joanne MacQuarrie, RRT, RPSGT
Author and Funding Information

*From the Loma Linda University Medical Center Children’s Hospital (Drs. Downey and Perkin, and Ms. MacQuarrie), Loma Linda, CA; and the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Administration Medical Center (Dr. Downey), Loma Linda, CA.

Correspondence to: Ralph Downey III, PhD, Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Medical Center Sleep Disorders Center (111P), 11201 Benton St, Loma Linda, CA 92357;



Chest. 2000;117(6):1608-1612. doi:10.1378/chest.117.6.1608
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Study objectives: To assess the efficacy of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients who are < 2 years of age.

Design: A retrospective chart review of 18 patients from 1992 to 1999 who had OSA confirmed by polysomnography. All patients in this study also completed a separate night of CPAP polysomnography to determine the effectiveness of CPAP in the correction of OSA. Nasal CPAP compliance data were gathered via clinical follow-up examination, telephone interview, or mailed questionnaire.

Setting: All patients were studied in the Sleep Disorders Center at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital in Loma Linda, CA.

Patients: All patients were < 2 years old.

Intervention: After OSA was confirmed by the results of technician-attended nocturnal polysomnography, separate technician-attended nocturnal CPAP polysomnography was completed. On CPAP nights, CPAP pressure was titrated to ameliorate OSA and snoring. CPAP pressure was increased by 2-cm H2O or 1-cm H2O increments.

Results: Data were analyzed by dependent groups t test at p < 0.05 level of significance. CPAP statistically improved respiratory parameters significantly when compared to baseline polysomnography. The following four patient subgroups emerged from the analysis: group 1 consisted of six patients who had tracheostomies prior to the CPAP trial, with two patients using CPAP as an alternative to tracheostomy; group 2 consisted of two patients who had previous unsuccessful adenostonsillectomies and who used CPAP successfully, with both having OSA resolution over time; group 3 consisted of four patients who did not tolerate CPAP on the study night; and group 4 consisted of six patients who used CPAP nightly, had OSA resolution over time, and therefore, no longer needed CPAP therapy. Thus, 10 of 18 patients used CPAP either on an interim basis for corrective therapy or as a primary treatment modality for OSA.

Conclusions: These data show that children < 2 years of age can tolerate and use CPAP effectively. In several cases, CPAP treatment could be discontinued as OSA resolved over time. The reasons for this are discussed in the text.


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