Treatment of obstructive sleep apnea with nasal continuous positive airway pressure. Patient compliance, perception of benefits, and side effects

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1992 Apr;145(4 Pt 1):841-5. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/145.4_Pt_1.841.


Obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic disease whose treatment may require long-term nightly use of relatively cumbersome and expensive breathing equipment that provides continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) via nasal mask. Compliance with this treatment may be influenced not only by the objective improvement in sleep apnea but also by the patient's subjective perception of the benefit, bed mate or family support, side effects, and cost. The last factor may not be important in Ontario, where 75% of the cost is paid by the Ministry of Health. The goal of this study was to analyze the factors that may influence patient acceptance of nasal CPAP. This was done by tabulating the responses to a detailed questionnaire mailed to 148 patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). There were 96 replies. We were able to contact by telephone an additional 42 patients. The results showed that 105 patients continued to use CPAP at a mean follow-up time of 17 +/- 11 months, some for as long as 6 yr. The majority of patients (81%) perceived CPAP as an effective treatment of the disorder, 5% were unsure, and 14% believed that CPAP was ineffective, despite the resolution of sleep apnea on polysomnography. Subjective improvement reported by the patients was also observed by the family members in 83% of the patients. The most common complaint, voiced by 46% of the patients, was nocturnal awakenings. Nasal problems, such as dryness, congestion, and sneezing, were the second most frequent complaint present in 44% of the responders.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Home Care Services / economics
  • Humans
  • Masks
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration / economics
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration / methods*
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration / psychology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / therapy*