Background: Heated humidification can reduce nasal symptoms caused by continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment, but its routine use has not been studied over the medium term in a randomized controlled trial. The aim of this study is to determine if heated humidification would reduce nasal symptoms and improve adherence with CPAP treatment in all patients with sleep apnoea irrespective of whether they had nasal symptoms initially.
Methods: A randomized, parallel group design. Patients were treated for 3 months with a Fisher & Paykel HC201 pump with built-in heated humidification, or with the heater disabled and without water. Adherence was measured with a timer built into the pumps. Nasal symptoms were measured with a 10-cm visual analogue scale.
Results: There were 25 in the humidification group and 29 in the non-humidification group. After 12 weeks mean (standard deviation) adherence with CPAP was 4.7 (2.4) and 4.5 (2.2) hours per night respectively. Nasal symptoms that were reduced were nose blocked* 6 (12), 18 (26); sneezing* 4 (8), 15 (25); dry nose* 8 (12), 24 (33); stuffy nose* 7 (14), 22(31); dry mouth* 13 (18), 33(36); and runny nose* 6 (17), 14 (29). Parameters marked with an asterisk '*' had P < 0.05 with t-tests.
Conclusion: The routine use of heated humidification with CPAP in all patients with sleep apnoea reduced nasal symptoms, but did not improve adherence.
© 2010 The Authors. Internal Medicine Journal © 2010 Royal Australasian College of Physicians.