The Cincinnati Children's CPAP Clinic helps children who need continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to treat sleep apnea. Our team of experts works with you to make sure your child's CPAP treatment is successful.
A CPAP machine helps your child breathe while sleeping. It is a small mask that he or she will wear over the nose or the nose and mouth. The device provides air pressure that keeps the throat from closing during sleep.
At Cincinnati Children's, we offer:
- Access to a wide range of experts from different specialties within our Sleep Center, which helps us provide more comprehensive treatment for your child
- A team that works with you and your child to make sure the CPAP is as comfortable as possible so your child can stick with treatment and sleep better
- Simplified and coordinated care, so you don't have to worry about managing appointments and specialist schedules
Conditions We Treat
The CPAP Clinic helps patients with all types of sleep apnea who need CPAP treatment. Types of sleep apnea include:
- Central sleep apnea
- Complex obstructive sleep apnea
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
We work closely with our Sleep Apnea Clinic to coordinate treatment. If your child has complex obstructive sleep apnea, we will work with the team at our Complex Obstructive Sleep Apnea Center to help manage your child's CPAP treatment.
Sleep apnea causes breathing problems while a child is sleeping. This can make it difficult for a child to get a good night's sleep. Enlarged tonsils (tonsillar hypertrophy) often cause these breathing problems. Breathing issues can also stem from medical conditions, such as:
- Congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS)
- Craniofacial abnormalities, such as cleft palate
- Down syndrome
- Neuromuscular conditions, such as muscular dystrophy
Our Treatment Approach
We take a team approach to CPAP treatment. That means we bring together various experts to help your child cope with CPAP and stick with the treatment plan.
At the CPAP Clinic, you and your child will work with a sleep physician, respiratory therapist and sleep psychologist. This group will make sure your child feels as comfortable as possible with the CPAP machine. The process may include:
- Adjusting settings on the CPAP machine, such as humidity and heat, to help improve comfort
- Adjusting the CPAP mask for a better fit
- Meeting with a sleep psychologist to talk through emotional issues that may make it difficult to wear the CPAP mask
If we notice your child is gaining weight during treatment, we may also have you meet with a dietitian. Weight gain can sometimes worsen sleep apnea symptoms. The dietitian can work with you and your child on healthy ways to manage weight.
What to Expect
If your child has a sleep problem, your pediatrician may refer you to our Sleep Center for treatment. You can also contact our Sleep Center for a referral.
Once you're referred to the Sleep Center, we'll ask you to fill out an online questionnaire. This form will help us understand your child's health history and symptoms, so we know which specialists are best suited to treat your child.
If your child has sleep apnea symptoms, we will refer you to our Sleep Apnea Clinic first for evaluation. We'll refer you to our Complex Obstructive Sleep Apnea Center if your child suffers from complex or difficult-to-treat sleep apnea.
If your child's team recommends CPAP treatment, they will refer you to the CPAP Clinic.
What happens during my child’s visits?
During your first visit to the CPAP Clinic, you'll meet with a doctor or an advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) who specializes in sleep medicine. We'll also have you meet with a respiratory therapist and a sleep psychologist. These experts will ask about your child's condition, health history and any concerns you have about CPAP treatment.
The respiratory therapist and doctor can work with your child to make sure the CPAP mask fits. The sleep psychologist can talk through any behavioral or emotional concerns with treatment.
After the initial visit, we'll schedule a follow-up appointment within a month. During these follow-up visits, we'll read data from a chip in the CPAP machine. This data shows how often you're using the device and how well it's working.
If another doctor or pediatrician referred you to the center, our team will also communicate with them throughout the process. This will help make sure your home doctor can stay informed about your child's progress and help manage any follow-up care if needed.
If your family is traveling from out of town, we also provide concierge services and other resources.
What if my child has problems with the CPAP machine?
If your child is having problems using the machine, we'll work with you to resolve the issues. This may include adjusting the CPAP machine settings or mask fit. We may also recommend meeting again with the sleep psychologist.
How often do we need to come back for a follow-up?
Most new patients visit us every three months. Once your child is comfortable with the machine and the treatment works, you may only need to come in every six months to a year. Our respiratory therapist will also reach out to you regularly to see how the treatment is going.
What if the CPAP treatment doesn’t work?
In some cases, CPAP doesn't work and we may recommend a different treatment approach, such as surgery. If that's the case for your child, we'll work with other specialists at the Sleep Center to make sure your child's care is as seamless as possible.
Meet the Team
This clinic features doctors and nurses who specialize in sleep disorders. All of our doctors specialize in sleep medicine.
The CPAP Clinic team tracks how well patients adhere to their CPAP treatment. As part of a quality improvement initiative, we collect data around treatment adherence and outcomes. This helps us improve our processes and create better treatments for future patients.
Our team has also been involved with clinical trials that look at how to improve CPAP treatment and mask fitting.
Locations and Directions
Families can reach out to the Sleep Center for more information by filling out our online form.
All appointments are by provider referral. Providers can refer a patient to the CPAP Clinic by contacting us.