A comparative study of treatments for positional sleep apnea

Sleep. 1991 Dec;14(6):546-52. doi: 10.1093/sleep/14.6.546.


Sixty male patients all with apnea plus hypopnea indices (A + HI) above 12.5, who met a criterion of positionality by having two or more times the rate of these events during supine sleep in comparison to their lateral sleep rate, were randomly assigned to one of four treatments for 8 weeks. All were restudied for two nights, one with and one without treatment devices. On treatment more than half the patients in each group reduced their A + HI to within normal limits and a third remained WNL without the use of devices. Half of those trained to sleep in the lateral position with the help of an alarm maintained this learning without the alarm as did half of those who were encouraged to learn this sleep posture on their own. There is an additive effect for the positional patient from wearing a tongue retaining device (TRD) if they continue to sleep in the supine position. Factors associated with successful treatment include overall severity, severity in the lateral position, weight, weight change, nasal patency and motivation to help their condition.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Electroencephalography
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Protectors*
  • Posture* / physiology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / therapy*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology
  • Tongue* / physiopathology