Background: This study examines the effect of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment on quality of life (QOL)in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.
Methods: Thirty-nine patients with sleep apnea were studied. Health-related quality of life was measured (HRQL) with the use of the Medical Outcomes Survey (MOS) instrument, before and after patients were randomized to receive either 1 week of CPAP or placebo-CPAP (CPAP administered at ineffective pressure).
Results: CPAP was not found to have a specific effect on QOL as compared with placebo-CPAP. However, several aspects of HRQL improved in both groups over time in this study. Time effects were found in the following subscales of the MOS: satisfaction with physical functioning; effects of pain; pain severity; cognitive functioning; mental health index I; psychological well-being I; depression/behavioral-emotional control; anxiety I; psychological distress I; positive affect II; mental health index II; psychological distress II; anxiety II; psychological well-being II; mental health index III; role limitations due to emotional problems; and physical/physiologic functioning.
Conclusions: CPAP treatment does appear to improve several aspects of HRQL. However, this improvement may reflect a nonspecific response (ie, placebo) because comparable improvements were observed in both the active treatment group and the placebo treatment group. Additional study with placebo-CPAP designs is warranted.