Effect of continuous positive airway pressure in very elderly with moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea pooled results from two multicenter randomized controlled trials

Sleep Med. 2022 Jan:89:71-77. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2021.11.009. Epub 2021 Nov 24.


Study objective: There is very limited information about the effect of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in the very elderly. Here we aimed to analysed the effect of CPAP on a clinical cohort of patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) ≥80 years old.

Methods: Post-hoc pooled analysis of two open-label, multicenter clinical trials aimed to determine the effect of CPAP in a consecutive clinical cohort of elderly (≥70 years old) with moderate-to-severe OSA (apnea-hipopnea index ≥15 events/hour) randomized to receive CPAP or no CPAP for three months. Those consecutive patients ≥80 years old were included in the study. The primary endpoint was the change in Epworth Sleepiness scale (ESS). Secondary outcomes included sleep-related symptoms, quality of life, neurocognitive and mood status as well as office blood pressure measurements.

Results: From the initial 369 randomized individuals with ≥70 years, 97 (26.3%) with ≥80 years old were included (47 in the CPAP group and 50 in the no-CPAP group). The mean (SD) age was 81.5 (2.4) years. Average use of CPAP was 4.3 (2.6) hours/night (53% with good adherence) Patients in the CPAP group significantly improved snoring and witnessed apneas as well as AHI (from 41.9 to 4.9 events/hour). However no clinical improvements were seen in ESS (-1.2 points, 95%CI, 0.2 to -2.6), any domain of QSQ, any neurocognitive test, OSA-related symptoms, depression/anxiety or blood pressure levels.

Conclusions: The present study does not support the use of CPAP in very elderly patients with moderate-to-severe OSA.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03079466 NCT02069600.

Keywords: CPAP; Neurocognitive; OSA; Obstructive sleep apnea; Quality of life; Very elderly.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure* / methods
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive* / psychology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive* / therapy
  • Snoring

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03079466
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02069600