Patients' preference of established and emerging treatment options for obstructive sleep apnoea

J Thorac Dis. 2015 May;7(5):938-42. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2015.04.53.


Background: Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep-disordered breathing. The standard treatment, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), has limited long-term compliance. Alternative treatment options are required and new methods, including hypoglossal nerve stimulation (HNS) and continuous transcutaneous electrical stimulation (CTES), are currently emerging. We report on patients' preference for different treatments of OSA.

Methods: We recorded patients' age, gender, body mass index (BMI), Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire with 10 questions (FOSQ10), severity of OSA, and current treatment. We showed pictures of existing [CPAP, mandibular advancement device (MAD)] and emerging treatments (HNS and CTES). We then asked (I) whether participants were interested in further information about HNS/CTES; (II) if they would be willing to try HNS/CTES; and (III) if they were to choose only one of the four listed treatments, which one would they prefer to use every night.

Results: One hundred sixty-two patients completed the survey {81 males, mean age 52 [12] years, BMI 34 [7] kg/m(2), ESS 10.2 (6.0) points, FOSQ10 28.5 (8.1) points}. The majority of the respondents (89.5%) had been diagnosed with OSA. A total of 91.3% of the respondents were interested in more information and were willing to try HNS/CTES. Most respondents preferred the potential use of CTES (56.7%), while 21.7% chose HNS, 17.8% CPAP, and 3.8% the MAD. There were no differences in the characteristics of the patients who preferred CTES compared to those who preferred other treatments, but a regression analysis revealed that a low ESS score was an independent predictor of patients choosing CTES (P<0.05).

Conclusions: More than 9 out of 10 of the respondents were interested in trying emerging technologies to treat OSA, most preferring CTES. Less sleepy patients were more likely to choose less invasive treatments. These findings will likely impact on future research and development of therapies for sleep-disordered breathing.

Keywords: Sleep apnoea; continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP); electrical stimulation; sleepiness.