Continuous positive airway pressure care for pediatric obstructive sleep apnea: A long-term quality improvement initiative

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2022 Nov;57(11):2629-2637. doi: 10.1002/ppul.26075. Epub 2022 Jul 22.


Successful treatment of pediatric obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is challenging due to behavioral, technical, medical, and systems factors. We undertook a quality improvement (QI) initiative involving physicians, nurses, psychologists, and respiratory therapists to improve CPAP outpatient care and processes. We aimed to: (1) increase the proportion of patients with a follow-up visit within 4 months of initiation of CPAP, (2) reduce the median time to first follow-up visit to under 4 months, and (3) increase the proportion of patients obtaining a post-initiation polysomnogram within 1 year to >50%. We also explored healthcare utilization (HCU) in a subsample of patients. Interventions focused on developing a tracking system and standardizing interdisciplinary clinical care. The proportion of patients returning to clinic within 4 months improved from 38.2% to 65.5% and median time to first follow-up visit improved from 133 to 56 days. The percentage of patients who returned for a post-initiation polysomnogram within 1 year was 71.1%. Subsample analyses showed significant reductions in the length of stay for emergency department visits from pre-CPAP initiation (Mdn = 3.00 h; interquartile range [IQR] = 7.00) to post-initiation (Mdn = 2.00 h, IQR = 5.00). The length of hospitalizations was also significantly shorter from pre (Mdn = 48.00 h, IQR = 243.00) to post-CPAP initiation (Mdn = 0.00 h, IQR = 73.00). A standardized, tracked approach to interdisciplinary outpatient CPAP care can improve follow-up care and potentially HCU.

Keywords: child; continuous positive airway pressure; obstructive; quality improvement; sleep; sleep apnea.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care
  • Child
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure*
  • Humans
  • Polysomnography
  • Quality Improvement
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive* / therapy