Effect of positive airway pressure therapy in children with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome: does positive airway pressure use reduce pedestrian injury risk?

Academic Article


  • Introduction: Treatment with positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy reduces injury risk among adults with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), but the effect of PAP therapy on children's injury risk is unknown. This study investigated whether treatment of OSAS with PAP reduces children's pedestrian injury risk in a virtual reality pedestrian environment. Methods: Forty-two children ages 8-16 years with OSAS were enrolled upon diagnosis by polysomnography. Children crossed a simulated street several times upon enrollment, prior to PAP treatment, and again after 3 months of PAP therapy. Children underwent sleep studies at all time points. Results: Children adherent with PAP had a significant reduction in hits by a virtual vehicle (P <.01) and less time to contact with oncoming vehicles (P <.01) following treatment. Those who were nonadherent did not show improved safety. There was no change in attention to oncoming traffic. Conclusions: OSAS may have significant consequences on children's daytime functioning in a critical domain of personal safety: pedestrian skills. In pedestrian simulation, children with OSAS adherent to PAP therapy showed improvement in pedestrian safety and had fewer collisions with a virtual vehicle following treatment. Results highlight need for heightened awareness of the real-world benefits of treatment for pediatric sleep disorders. Level of evidence: Level II Therapeutic Study.
  • Published In

  • Sleep Health  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Avis KT; Gamble KL; Schwebel DC
  • Start Page

  • 161
  • End Page

  • 165
  • Volume

  • 5
  • Issue

  • 2