The effect of positive reinforcement on hourly compliance in nasal continuous positive airway pressure users with obstructive sleep apnea

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1991 May;143(5 Pt 1):936-41. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/143.5_Pt_1.936.


Previous reports have described compliance with nasal continuous positive airway pressure (nCPAP) for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) only in terms of the number of patients able to use it beyond their initial trial night or those continuing after some home use. Because of a possible difference between the level of compliance (mean number of hours of use per 24 h) needed for symptomatic relief of OSA versus cardiovascular improvement, the level of hourly compliance in chronic nCPAP users may be important. The first part of this study prospectively examines compliance in a stable population of OSA patients already using nCPAP for 6 months to 2 yr. The second part is a prospective randomized, crossover study examining the effect of weekly (three times) then monthly (twice) positive reinforcement on hourly compliance of new nCPAP users for 3 months versus no reinforcement for 3 months. Positive reinforcement consisted of telephone discussions with the patients about the severity or complications of OSA, benefits of nCPAP, and suggestions about minimizing side effects. Using self-assessment scales, each patient reported the perceived level of improvement from the untreated to the treated condition and the prevalence and severity of side effects from the nCPAP therapy. The level of compliance in stable, chronic nCPAP users with OSA was 6.1 +/- 2.2 h/24 h (n = 9). For the new nCPAP users during the nonreinforced period, the mean compliance was 6.0 +/- 2.8 h/24 h; that during the reinforcement period was 6.0 +/- 2.7 h/24 h (NS). There was no significant correlation between perceived improvement in OSA symptoms or between the perceived side effects of nCPAP versus hourly compliance.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration / methods*
  • Reinforcement Schedule
  • Reinforcement, Psychology*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / therapy*
  • Telephone