Quality of life, compliance, sleep and nasopharyngeal side effects during CPAP therapy with and without controlled heated humidification

Sleep Breath. 2011 Sep;15(3):479-85. doi: 10.1007/s11325-010-0363-2. Epub 2010 May 26.


Purpose: To determine the effect of a controlled heated breathing tube humidifier (cHH) on the quality of life (QOL), compliance and nasopharyngeal side effects during continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) in comparison with conventional CPAP.

Methods: In this prospective randomised cross-over study, 44 patients with OSAS were investigated. During the first two consecutive treatment nights monitored by polysomnography, patients were randomly assigned to receive CPAP with or without cHH. Patients were then randomised to receive one of the treatment modalities at home for 4 weeks. Compliance was recorded and questionnaires assessing side effects and QOL were administered.

Results: Sleep parameters measured during the nights in the sleep laboratory did not change. The same result applied to QOL and compliance measured after 4 weeks. During the first two nights we found significant differences between CPAP with and without cHH for dryness of mouth (2.0 ± 1.4 vs. 1.4 ± 1.6) in favour of cHH (p < 0.05). Evaluation of coldness of the face showed improvement whereas waking up due to wetness on the face (0.3 ± 0.6 vs. 0.6 ± 0.8; p < 0.05) was slightly increased. Data after 4 weeks confirmed these findings with further subjective improvement in the reduction of side effects.

Conclusions: By the using of the technology of cHH QOL and compliance did not improve. The side effects of CPAP therapy without humidification with respect to nasopharyngeal dryness, however, was reduced immediately as well as during the first weeks of treatment.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / adverse effects
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / psychology*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Humidity*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Obstruction / prevention & control*
  • Nasal Obstruction / psychology
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Polysomnography
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / psychology*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Xerostomia / prevention & control*
  • Xerostomia / psychology