Background: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common condition in morbidly obese patients, with the reported prevalence ranging from 12-78%. There is increasing recognition of the need to diagnose and treat/manage OSA both preoperatively and postoperatively. Nasal CPAP is the preferred treatment of OSA; however, weight loss is associated with a reduction in required pressures. We evaluated the CPAP pressure requirements in a group of patients undergoing rapid weight loss following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.
Methods: 15 patients who had been diagnosed with OSA before surgery were retrospectively evaluated. All patients had demonstrated compliance on home CPAP therapy, were minimally 3 months post-surgery and had follow-up reports that their CPAP was less effective. We obtained data on age, sex, weight, BMI, and apnea/hypopnea index (AHI). Optimal CPAP pressure was obtained initially through attended in-laboratory complex polysomnography. Follow-up CPAP pressure was obtained using an auto-titrating PAP device at home. These data were used to evaluate the pressure changes that accompanied weight loss.
Results: This group of patients had lost an average of 44.5 +/- 19.4 kg. Four patients had achieved their goal weight. Their starting CPAP pressures averaged 11 +/- 3.0 cm H2O, with a range of 7-18 cm H2O. Follow-up CPAP pressures averaged 9 +/- 2.7 cm H2O, with a range of 4-12 cm H2O, representing an overall reduction of 18%. The subgroup of patients who had achieved goal weight had a pressure reduction of 22% (9 +/- 2.0 to 7 +/- 1.0 cm H2O).
Conclusion: CPAP pressure requirements change considerably in bariatric surgery patients undergoing rapid weight loss. Auto-titrating PAP devices have promise for facilitating the management of CPAP therapy during this time. Consideration should also be given to the use of autotitrating PAP units as the treatment of choice in these patients.