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Volume 15 No. 11
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Accepted Papers

Scientific Investigations

Can CPAP Therapy in Pediatric OSA Ever Be Stopped?

Zachary King, MBBS1,2; Maree Josee-Leclerc, BN Sci1; Pat Wales, BN Sci1; Ian Brent Masters, MBBS, FRACP, PhD1,3; Nitin Kapur, MBBS, MD, FRACP, PhD1,3
1Queensland Children’s Hospital, South Brisbane, Australia; 2School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia; 3School of Clinical Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Study Objectives:

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) has been increasingly used in children with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), though it is unclear whether it can ever be ceased. We describe the clinical, demographic, and polysomnographic (PSG) characteristics of a cohort of children with OSA who were successfully weaned off CPAP.


From a pediatric cohort on CPAP for OSA at the Queensland Children’s Hospital between January 2016 and December 2017, a subgroup of children who were taken off CPAP were retrospectively studied.


CPAP therapy was stopped for 53 children over a 2-year period; 29 of these were excluded from analysis due to change to bilevel support (n = 2), transition to adult care (n = 12), or cessation due to poor adherence (n = 15). A total of 24 children [median (interquartile range, IQR) age 4.1 years (1.0–10.5); 18 males] were successfully weaned off CPAP therapy based on improvement in clinical and PSG parameters; and were included in the analysis. These children had a median (IQR) apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of 9.8 (5.7–46.0) at CPAP initiation, which improved to 3.3 (0.4–2.2) at CPAP cessation after a median (IQR) duration of 1.0 (0.5–2.0) year. The reasons for CPAP cessation included improved symptoms and/or PSG parameters with time (n = 11); improvement after airway surgery (n = 7), and improvement of body mass index (n = 2). In four children, CPAP therapy was ceased after initial trial due to low physician perceived clinical benefit.


This is the first study describing the characteristics of children and likely reasons for successful CPAP cessation. Children on CPAP should be regularly screened for ongoing CPAP need.


King Z, Josee-Leclerc M, Wales P, Masters IB, Kapur N. Can CPAP therapy in pediatric OSA ever be stopped? J Clin Sleep Med. 2019;15(11):1609–1612.

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