Positive-Pressure Ventilation (CPAP)

Also known as: continuous positive airway pressure, CPAP.

What is positive-pressure ventilation?

Positive-pressure ventilation or CPAP is a safe and effective breathing treatment to keep the the child’s air tubes open during breathing. It’s delivered by a machine through a mask/artificial airway where the machine blows air/oxygen into the air passages (nose, throat) at a measured pressure.

Children typically wear the mask through the night (or continuously depending on the underlying diagnosis) as a treatment for sleep apnea, or other respiratory (lung) problems.

What happens during the procedure?

Children typically need to be attached to the air/oxygen delivery system (CPAP machine) and wear the mask over the nose, or nose and mouth every time they sleep (or longer depending on the diagnosis for which the treatment is prescribed).

Is any special preparation needed?

Masks come in various sizes and shapes and children may need a little time to get used to sleeping with the mask and machine.

What are the risk factors?

Congestion, dry mouth, nosebleeds, runny nose, stomach discomfort and bloating are potential complications.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: April 06, 2021 10:17 AM

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