A randomized, controlled trial of 1 week of continuous positive airway pressure treatment on quality of life

Heart Lung. 2003 Jan-Feb;32(1):52-8. doi: 10.1067/mhl.2003.8.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome