Quality of life of obstructive sleep apnoea patients receiving continuous positive airway pressure treatment: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Heart Lung. Jan-Feb 2020;49(1):10-24. doi: 10.1016/j.hrtlng.2019.10.004. Epub 2019 Oct 23.


Background: Previous studies have shown conflicting results on the effect of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) on quality of life (QoL) in obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) patients.

Objectives: To evaluate the effect of CPAP on QoL in OSA patients compared to sham CPAP, placebo pills, and conservative treatment.

Methods: Studies were identified via Web of Knowledge, PubMed, PsychInfo, CINAHL, EMBASE, OpenGrey, and the Cochrane Library. Subgroup analyses and sensitivity analyses were conducted to assess the robustness of the findings.

Results: Meta-analysis of 13 randomised controlled trials showed no significant differences in overall and psychological QoL comparing values of CPAP treated patients with controls; however, physical QoL improved. CPAP significantly affected the overall QoL in studies with controls receiving sham CPAP, parallel design, low risk of bias, and mild OSA patients.

Conclusion: CPAP treatment may help to improve physical symptoms of OSA, whereas impaired psychological QoL still cannot be alleviated.

Keywords: CPAP treatment; Meta-analysis; Obstructive sleep apnoea; Quality of life; Systematic literature review.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / methods*
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy*