Role of primary care in the follow-up of patients with obstructive sleep apnoea undergoing CPAP treatment: a randomised controlled trial

Thorax. 2015 Apr;70(4):346-52. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2014-206287.


Objective: To evaluate whether follow-up of patients with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) undergoing CPAP treatment could be performed in primary care (PC) settings.

Design: Non-inferiority, randomised, prospective controlled study.

Settings: Sleep unit (SU) at the University Hospital and in 8 PC units in Lleida, Spain.

Participants: Patients with OSA were randomised to be followed up at the SU or PC units over a 6-month period.

Main outcomes measured: The primary outcome was CPAP compliance at 6 months. The secondary outcomes were Epworth Sleep Scale (ESS) score, EuroQoL, patient satisfaction, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure and cost-effectiveness.

Results: We included 101 patients in PC ((mean±SD) apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI) 50.8±22.9/h, age 56.2±11 years, 74% male) and 109 in the SU (AHI 51.4±24.4/h, age 55.8±11 years, 77% male)). The CPAP compliance was (mean (95% CI) 4.94 (4.47 to 5.5) vs 5.23 (4.79 to 5.66) h, p=0.18) in PC and SU groups, respectively. In the SU group, there were greater improvements in ESS scores (mean change 1.79, 95% CI +0.05 to +3.53, p=0.04) and patient satisfaction (-1.49, 95% CI -2.22 to -0.76); there was a significant mean difference in BMI between the groups (0.57, 95% CI +0.01 to +1.13, p=0.04). In the PC setting, there was a cost saving of 60%, with similar effectiveness, as well as a decrease in systolic blood pressure (-5.32; 95% CI -10.91 to +0.28, p=0.06).

Conclusions: For patients with OSA, treatment provided in a PC setting did not result in worse CPAP compliance compared with a specialist model and was shown to be a cost-effective alternative.

Trial registration number: Clinical Trials NCT01918449.

Keywords: Sleep apnoea.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / economics
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / methods*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care / economics
  • Long-Term Care / organization & administration
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data
  • Primary Health Care / economics
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / economics
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy*
  • Spain

Associated data