Background: Evidence suggests that 15-30% of individuals with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) have type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and that OSA is an independent risk factor for T2DM. There is considerable interest in ascertaining whether OSA treatment improves glycaemic control and insulin sensitivity in patients with OSA and T2DM.
Aims: To assess the effects of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy on glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) level, insulin sensitivity and body mass index (BMI) in patients with OSA and T2DM.
Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library were searched to identify prospective studies involving patients with OSA and T2DM who had received CPAP, and data on primary outcome (change in HbA1c) and/or secondary outcomes (changes in insulin sensitivity and BMI) were reported. All relevant studies published before 31 January 2014 were included.
Results: Six studies were included in the systematic review and meta-analysis. The numbers of patients ranged from 9 to 44 (total=128), and mean age ranged from 50.7 to 66.1 years. For the change in HbA1c (six studies, 128 patients), the combined standardised paired difference revealed no significant effect of CPAP (-0.071, 95% confidence interval (CI)=-0.245, 0.103; P=0.421). Similarly, there was no significant effect of CPAP on the change in BMI (-0.102, 95% CI=-0.296, 0.092; P=0.302; five studies, 103 patients). In contrast, there was a significant effect of CPAP on the change (improvement) in insulin sensitivity (0.330, 95% CI=0.001, 0.658; P=0.049; three studies, 39 patients).
Conclusion: The limited available evidence from randomised controlled trials and prospective observational studies suggests that CPAP does not decrease HbA1c level or BMI in patients with OSA and T2DM but may improve insulin sensitivity.