Long-term acceptance of continuous positive airway pressure in obstructive sleep apnea

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1991 Nov;144(5):1130-3. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/144.5.1130.


We studied the long-term acceptability of nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment in 168 consecutive patients, 147 with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and 21 with snoring. Follow-up was between 1.5 and 78 months. At latest follow-up 107 of 168 (64%) were still using CPAP. Acceptance of CPAP was least for patients with snoring alone (6 of 21 persisted) and best for patients with both excessive daytime somnolence and severe hypoxemia (minimum SaO2 less than 75%), of whom 40 of 45 (89%) persisted with treatment. Patients with excessive daytime somnolence but without severe hypoxemia were less tolerant of CPAP (39 of 71, 55%, persisted) than patients with no symptoms of excessive somnolence but with severe hypoxemia (21 of 30, 70%, persisted). The most common reasons for discontinuing CPAP were intolerance of the mask (26 of 61), the inconvenience of treatment (16 of 61), and the lack of symptomatic benefit from treatment (10 of 61). We concluded that long-term acceptance of CPAP was difficult to predict in advance but that it was most likely in patients with the most severe sleep apnea. Because intolerance of the mask and inconvenience were the most common reasons for ceasing treatment, improvements in the design of CPAP systems and careful patient training may improve the acceptability of CPAP substantially.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / epidemiology
  • Hypoxia / therapy
  • Male
  • New South Wales / epidemiology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration* / statistics & numerical data
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / epidemiology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / therapy*
  • Snoring / epidemiology
  • Snoring / therapy
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Treatment Refusal