Sleep apnea treatment after stroke (SATS) trial: is it feasible?

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2013 Nov;22(8):1216-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2011.06.010. Epub 2011 Jul 23.


Sleep apnea affects more than half of patients with acute ischemic stroke and is associated with poor stroke outcome. This pilot study assessed the feasibility of a randomized, sham-controlled continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) trial in subjects with acute ischemic stroke. Subjects identified with sleep apnea based on an apnea-hypopnea index≥5 on overnight polysomnography or portable respiratory monitoring within 7 days of onset of stroke symptoms were randomized to receive active or sham CPAP for a 3-month period. Objective usage was ascertained by compliance data cards. Subjects, treating physicians, and outcome assessors were masked to intervention allocation. Among 87 subjects who provided consent, 74 were able to complete sleep apnea screening, 54 (73%) of whom had sleep apnea. Thirty-two subjects agreed to randomization. Of the 15 subjects who commenced active titration, 11 (73%) took the device home, and 8 (53%) completed the 3-month follow-up. Of the 17 subjects who commenced sham titration, 11 (65%) took the sham device home and completed the 3-month follow-up. The median cumulative usage hours over the 90 days were similar in the active group (53 hours; interquartile range, 22-173 hours) and the sham group (74 hours; interquartile range, 17-94 hours), and blinding to subject condition was successfully maintained. This first-ever randomized, sham-controlled trial of CPAP in patients with recent stroke and sleep apnea demonstrates that sham treatment can be an effective placebo.

Keywords: Ischemic stroke; clinical trial; continuous positive airway pressure; obstructive sleep apnea.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Pilot Projects
  • Polysomnography
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / complications
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / therapy*
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Treatment Outcome