Combining MAD and CPAP as an effective strategy for treating patients with severe sleep apnea intolerant to high-pressure PAP and unresponsive to MAD

PLoS One. 2017 Oct 26;12(10):e0187032. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187032. eCollection 2017.


Introduction: This study aimed to determine the effect of combining positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy and mandibular advancement device (MAD) in patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who were pressure intolerant for PAP and were unresponsive to MAD.

Methods: This retrospective study reviewed the medical records of severe OSA patients with apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) ≥ 30/hr who were diagnosed between October 1, 2008 and June 30, 2014. Patients were initially treated with 2 weeks of PAP, and those who were intolerant to high-pressure PAP (≥15 cm H2O) were switched to 12 weeks of MAD, which is a monobloc designed at 75% of maximum protrusion. Patients who had high residual AHI (≥15/hr) on MAD underwent 12 weeks of combination therapy (CT) with MAD and CPAP and were enrolled in the present study. Enrolled subjects who completed the 12-week CT were followed-up until June 30, 2016.

Results: A total of 14 male patients were included. All three treatments effectively reduced AHI, oxygen desaturation index (ODI), and total sleep time with SpO2 <90% (% TST-SpO2<90%) compared to pretreatment values. The residual AHI and ODI on CT was lower than that on MAD or PAP. The residual % TST-SpO2<90% was lower than that on MAD and similar to that on PAP. The therapeutic pressure on CT was on average 9.2 cm H2O lower than that on PAP. For the 11 patients who completed CT, only CT reduced ESS compared to pretreatment value. No treatment had significant impact on % slow wave sleep or overnight change of blood pressure. For patients who completed CT, the average usage was 5.9±1.7 hr/night at 12th week and 6.4±1.5 hr/night at a median follow-up of 36.5-months.

Conclusions: Combining MAD and CPAP showed additive effects on reducing AHI and ODI, and lowered the therapeutic pressures.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mandibular Advancement / instrumentation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnostic imaging
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Failure

Grant support

The study was supported by grants to Prof. Pei-Lin Lee from the Ministry of Science and Technology (project number MOST 103-2314-B-002-139-MY3, NSC 102-2314-B-002-099); National Taiwan University (project number NTU-ERP-104R8951-1, 105R8951-1, 106R880301); National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH 105-S2998); and NTU-NTUH-MediaTek Innovative Medical Electronics Research Center. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.