Adherence to continuous positive airway pressure therapy in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome: effect of visual education

Sleep Breath. 2012 Dec;16(4):1193-200. doi: 10.1007/s11325-011-0631-9. Epub 2011 Dec 14.


Background: Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is the most effective treatment in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) although it is known that adherence to therapy is limited. The aims of this study were to evaluate the effect of visual education on CPAP adherence and to identify the factors affecting adherence.

Methods: Out of 133 consecutive newly diagnosed moderate-to-severe OSAS patients, 66 were informed about OSAS and CPAP therapy and received visual education by videotape (video group), whereas only information was given to 67 of them (control group). The patients were followed up in the 1st, 3rd, and 6th months.

Results: After 6-month follow-up, adherence rate to CPAP therapy was 71.2% in the video group and 56.7% in the control group (p = 0.08). OSAS symptoms, such as witnessed apnea, morning headache, night sweating, dry mouth, and Epworth sleepiness score (ESS), were ameliorated more significantly in the video group (p < 0.05). In order to assess predictors of adherence, 85 patients using CPAP effectively were compared to 48 nonadherent patients; significant improvement in OSAS symptoms and ESS was observed in the adherent patients (p < 0.05). ESS was negatively correlated with the duration of CPAP use (r = -0.524, p < 0.0001). Adverse effects such as mask intolerance, choking, noise, and nasal congestion were related to poorer adherence (p < 0.01).

Conclusions: It is shown that adherence rate to CPAP therapy might be improved by visual education although the difference was not significant. Besides, patients with better adherence to CPAP treatment report the greatest improvement in OSAS symptoms and daytime sleepiness, and adverse effects are significantly related to poorer adherence.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / psychology*
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / psychology
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / psychology*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Turkey
  • Videotape Recording*