Kristen Hedger Archbold, PhD, RN, assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Nursing, has received five-year, $2 million funding from the National Institutes of Health/National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NIH/NHLBI). She and her team will study the effects of a ventilator therapy on behavior and cognition in school-aged children who stop breathing during sleep, a condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Up to 12 percent of school-aged children have symptoms suggesting that during sleep they have brief periods when they stop breathing. The common treatment in adults is positive airway pressure (PAP). PAP uses a ventilator (with mask) to trigger breathing and prevent any drop in blood oxygen levels. Yet to be studied is whether this treatment, adapted for children, would be beneficial. Sixty children between the ages of 6 and 12 with OSA will be enrolled, comparing those who do and do not receive PAP therapy. Behavior and cognition will be measured three times over six months.
This study is the first known to use a placebo or sham PAP ventilator, created by Dr. Archbold and her research team, in school-aged children and compare it to actual PAP. Currently, there are no accepted standards of care for using PAP therapy in pediatric OSA patients. This project has the potential to change significantly the clinical trajectory and course of treatment of OSA in children.
Dr. Archbold is an expert in the area of sleep disorders and sleep research with a particular focus on how to optimize pediatric neurobehavioral health through the mechanism of healthy sleep. Her team includes James Goodwin, PhD, Arizona Respiratory Center at the UA College of Medicine, and Stuart Quan, MD, professor emeritus at the UA College of Medicine.
Faculty at the University of Arizona College of Nursing envision, engage and innovate in education, research and practice – to help people of all ages optimize health in the context of major life transitions, illnesses, injuries, symptoms and disabilities. Established in 1957, the College ranks among the top nursing programs in the United States. For more information about the College, visit the website, www.nursing.arizona.edu