The Importance of Mask Selection on Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Outcomes for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. An Official American Thoracic Society Workshop Report

Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2020 Oct;17(10):1177-1185. doi: 10.1513/AnnalsATS.202007-864ST.


Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) remains the major treatment option for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The American Thoracic Society organized a workshop to discuss the importance of mask selection for OSA treatment with CPAP. In this workshop report, we summarize available evidence about the breathing route during nasal and oronasal CPAP and the importance of nasal symptoms for CPAP outcomes. We explore the mechanisms of air leaks during CPAP treatment and possible alternatives for leak control. The impact of nasal and oronasal CPAP on adherence, residual apnea-hypopnea index, unintentional leaks, and pressure requirements are also compared. Finally, recommendations for patient and partner involvement in mask selection are presented, and future directions to promote personalized mask selection are discussed.

Keywords: continuous positive airway pressure; masks; obstructive sleep apnea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure*
  • Humans
  • Masks
  • Nose
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive* / therapy
  • United States