Background: Nasal side effects are often reported during nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) and may make the use of nasal CPAP difficult.
Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of nasal CPAP on nasopharyngeal symptoms in OSAS patients.
Methods: The frequency and severity of nasopharyngeal symptoms and signs were prospectively evaluated in 49 consecutive OSAS patients (37 men, 12 women, mean (SD) age 54 (7) years, body mass index 35 (6) kg/m2) immediately before and after 6 months' treatment with nasal CPAP.
Results: Nasopharyngeal symptoms were common already before starting nasal CPAP: 74% of patients reported dryness, 53% sneezing, 51% mucus in the throat, 45% blocked nose, and 37% rhinorrhea. During nasal CPAP treatment, severity and frequency of sneezing (75%) and rhinorrhea (57%) increased. This increase was related to the season when nasal CPAP was applied, and was more profound in winter than in summer. Mild abnormalities on rhinoscopy and paranasal sinus X-rays were common both at baseline and at follow-up with no significant change during treatment.
Conclusions: Nasopharyngeal problems were found to be frequent in patients with OSAS before nasal CPAP treatment, and tended to increase during the treatment.