A brief survey of patients' first impression after CPAP titration predicts future CPAP adherence: a pilot study

J Clin Sleep Med. 2013 Mar 15;9(3):199-205. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.2476.


Background: CPAP adherence patterns are often established very early in the course of therapy. Our objective was to quantify patients' perception of CPAP therapy using a 6-item questionnaire administered in the morning following CPAP titration. We hypothesized that questionnaire responses would independently predict CPAP adherence during the first 30 days of therapy.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the CPAP perception questionnaires of 403 CPAP-naïve adults who underwent in-laboratory titration and who had daily CPAP adherence data available for the first 30 days of therapy. Responses to the CPAP perception questionnaire were analyzed for their association with mean CPAP adherence and with changes in daily CPAP adherence over 30 days.

Results: Patients were aged 52 ± 14 years, 53% were women, 54% were African American, the mean body mass index (BMI) was 36.3 ± 9.1 kg/m(2), and most patients had moderate-severe OSA. Four of 6 items from the CPAP perception questionnaire- regarding difficulty tolerating CPAP, discomfort with CPAP pressure, likelihood of wearing CPAP, and perceived health benefit-were significantly correlated with mean 30-day CPAP adherence, and a composite score from these 4 questions was found to be internally consistent. Stepwise linear regression modeling demonstrated that 3 variables were significant and independent predictors of reduced mean CPAP adherence: worse score on the 4-item questionnaire, African American race, and non-sleep specialist ordering polysomnogram and CPAP therapy. Furthermore, a worse score on the 4-item CPAP perception questionnaire was consistently associated with decreased mean daily CPAP adherence over the first 30 days of therapy.

Conclusions: In this pilot study, responses to a 4-item CPAP perception questionnaire administered to patients immediately following CPAP titration independently predicted mean CPAP adherence during the first 30 days. Further prospective validation of this questionnaire in different patient populations is warranted.

Keywords: CPAP adherence; Sleep apnea; compliance; patient perception; questionnaire.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance* / psychology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / psychology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires