CPAP stands for “continuous positive airway pressure.” CPAP is an airway treatment using slight positive pressure during inhalation to increase the volume of inspired air and to decrease the work of breathing. CPAP can be used by mouth, by nose, or through ventilation tubes.
Nasal CPAP is given through a mask that is placed and secured over the child’s nose or nose and mouth. Slight positive pressure is used to increase the amount of air breathed in without increasing the work of breathing. CPAP is useful for children with collapsible airways, small lung volumes, or muscle weakness that interferes with adequate ventilation.
CPAP is also used for adults with chronic respiratory failure and as treatment for sleep apnea.
by Arthur A. Poghosian, M.D.
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