We have previously demonstrated that upper airway obstruction in sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome (SAHS) can be accurately assessed in real-time by measuring respiratory impedance (|Z|) with the forced oscillation technique (FOT). The aims of the present study were: (1) to determine the feasibility of identifying the optimal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for patients with SAHS based on analysis of the |Z| signal during conventional polysomnographic CPAP titration studies; and (2) to evaluate practical issues involved in the application of FOT during CPAP titration. We performed CPAP titration in 28 patients with SAHS during polysomnography (PSG) (14 nap and 14 full overnight studies) using a FOT system applied continuously to obtain an on-line measurement of |Z|. FOT was easily implemented and was well-tolerated by the patients. Optimal CPAP levels were determined both in the conventional manner from the standard PSG titration record and during a separate blinded analysis using the FOT signal alone. The mean conventional versus FOT-based optimal CPAP values were similar for both nap studies (10.6 +/- 0.6 [mean +/- SEM] versus 11.1 +/- 0.6 cm H(2)O, respectively, p = 0. 054) and overnight studies (9.9 +/- 0.7 versus 9.9 +/- 0.6 cm H(2)O, respectively, p = 1.00). Subsequent analysis of the PSG record with the FOT signal incorporated demonstrated that artefacts in the |Z| tracing occurred during mask leak, mouth breathing, and movement during arousal. Such abnormalities were readily identified from the flow tracing. These results indicate that, for adequate interpretation, the tracing and values of respiratory impedance obtained by FOT should be evaluated in conjunction with the flow signal. Continuous FOT-guided CPAP titration is feasible and may be a useful adjunct during manual titration. FOT could also potentially serve as the basis for automated CPAP in SAHS.