Compliance with positive airway pressure treatment for obstructive sleep apnea

Clin Exp Otorhinolaryngol. 2009 Jun;2(2):90-6. doi: 10.3342/ceo.2009.2.2.90. Epub 2009 Jun 29.


Objectives: Positive airway pressure (PAP) is considered a standard treatment for moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients. However, compliance with PAP treatment is suboptimal because of several types of discomfort experienced by patients. This study investigated compliance with PAP therapy, and affecting factors for such compliance, in OSA patients.

Methods: We performed a survey on 69 patients who engaged in PAP therapy between December 2006 and November 2007. After diagnostic polysomnography and manual titration, patients trialed PAP using the ResMed instrument and explored autoadjusting PAP (APAP), continuous PAP (CPAP), and flexible PAP (using expiratory pressure relief [EPR]) at least once every week for 1 month. Compliance measures were mean daily use (hr), percentage of days on which PAP was used, and percentage of days on which PAP was used for >4 hr. Data were obtained at night using the software Autoscan version 5.7(R) of the ResMed Inc. We obtained data on anthropometric (age, BMI, neck circumflex, Epworth sleepiness scale, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, hypertension, alcohol intake), polysomnographic data (severity of apnea-hypopnea index [AHI], proportion of nonsupine sleep time, position dependence of sleep), PAP mode and AHI during PAP use for affecting factors.

Results: After 1 month, 41 of the 69 patients (59.4%) were pleased with PAP therapy and purchased instruments. Twenty-four patients (34.7%) used PAP for more than 3 months. The percentage of days on which PAP was used was statistically higher in patients with hypertension than in normotensive patients (P=0.003). There were negative correlations 1) between nonsupine position sleep time and percentage of days on which PAP was used (r=-0.424, P=0.039), and 2) between the AHI during PAP use and the percentage of days on which PAP was used for >4 hr (r=-0.443, P=0.030). There were no statistical differences between AHI, BMI, PAP pressure, or other measured parameters, on the one hand, and compliance, on the other.

Conclusion: The affecting factors for PAP use were hypertension history, sleep posture (shorter nonsupine sleep time), and lower AHI during PAP use.

Keywords: Compliance; Continuous positive airway pressure; Hypertension; Obstructive sleep apnea; Posture.