Compliance with nasal CPAP in obstructive sleep apnea patients

Sleep Med Rev. 1997 Nov;1(1):33-44. doi: 10.1016/s1087-0792(97)90004-6.


Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is currently the treatment of choice for the majority of patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). After a CPAP trial, the initial acceptance rate is 70-80%. Patients who derive no subjective benefit from such a trial are poor candidates for home treatment with CPAP because they are likely to exhibit lower adherence and compliance rates. About 90% of OSA patients provided with CPAP apparatus will adhere to long-term CPAP treatment. Patients abandoning CPAP do so during the first few months of home therapy, a period during which close monitoring and support is warranted. Because of the strong correlation between the machine run time and effective pressure delivered at the nasal mask (90-95%), the time-counter of the CPAP device is sufficient to monitor compliance in clinical practice, allowing for early intervention in cases of suboptimal use. Longterm acceptors of CPAP display a satisfactory compliance (5-6.5 h of average daily use) which compares favourably with compliance with treatment in other chronic diseases. Lower acceptance and compliance rates have been reported in North America as compared to Europe. This could be related to cultural differences or different routines of prescription and follow-up.