Melissa S. Xanthopoulos, PhD: Treating Infants With CPAP Masks


Pediatric sleep conditions remain understudied.

There are many challenges for families when an infant has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and must wear a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask.

This leads to questions about fit, sizing, comfort and how to get an infant to actually fall asleep with the mask on.

In data presented during SLEEP 2023 in Indianapolis, Melissa S. Xanthopoulos, PhD, a psychologist in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Sleep Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), discussed different strategies for families when an infant must wear a CPAP mask to sleep.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Xanthopoulos talked about how to talk to families when making these decisions.

While adherence can be difficult, there are incentives that can make it easier. For example, wearing the mask 5 nights in a row might elicit a reward of some sort.

However, the advice largely is individualized based on the specific family.

“For me as a psychologist I talk about the family system and the behavioral strategies for helping initiating,” she said. “I end up doing a really history of the family and try to get to know them better and try to have a picture of what life is like at home for them.”

Some other options are systematic optimization and practicing in a friendly environment during the day to alleviate stress.

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