The Effects of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure on Postoperative Outcomes in Obstructive Sleep Apnea Patients Undergoing Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Anesth Analg. 2015 May;120(5):1013-1023. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000000634.


Background: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a commonly encountered comorbid condition in patients undergoing surgery and is associated with a greater risk of postoperative adverse events. Our objective in this review was to investigate the effectiveness of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in reducing the risk of postoperative adverse events in patients with OSA undergoing surgery, the perioperative Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI), and the hospital length of stay (LOS).

Methods: We performed a systematic search of the literature databases. We reviewed the studies that included the following: (1) adult surgical patients (>18 years old) with information available on OSA; (2) patients using either preoperative and/or postoperative CPAP or no-CPAP; (3) available reports on postoperative adverse events, preoperative and postoperative AHI, and LOS; and (4) all published studies in English including case series.

Results: Six studies that included 904 patients were eligible for the meta-analysis. The meta-analysis for postoperative adverse events was performed in 904 patients (CPAP: n = 471 vs no-CPAP: n = 433; adverse events: 134 vs 133; P = 0.19). There was no significant difference in the postoperative adverse events between the 2 groups. The preoperative baseline AHI without CPAP was reduced significantly with postoperative use of CPAP (preoperative AHI versus postoperative AHI, 37 ± 19 vs 12 ± 16 events per hour, P < 0.001). LOS showed a trend toward significance in the CPAP group versus the no-CPAP group (4.0 ± 4 vs 4.4 ± 8 days, P = 0.05).

Conclusions: Our review suggests that there was no significant difference in the postoperative adverse events between CPAP and no-CPAP treatment. Patients using CPAP had significantly lower postoperative AHI and a trend toward shorter LOS. There may be potential benefits in the use of CPAP during the perioperative period.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Comorbidity
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Odds Ratio
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy*
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative* / adverse effects
  • Time Factors