Cluster analysis of upper airway stimulation adherence patterns and implications on clinical care

Sleep. 2022 Nov 9;45(11):zsac049. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsac049.


Study objectives: Upper airway stimulation (UAS) therapy is effective for a subset of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) intolerance. While overall adherence is high, some patients have suboptimal adherence, which limits efficacy. Our goal was to identify therapy usage patterns during the first 3 months of therapy to enable targeted strategies for improved adherence.

Methods: Therapy data was retrieved from 2098 patients for three months after device activation. Data included mean and standard deviation (SD) of hours of use, therapy pauses, hours from midnight the therapy was turned ON and OFF, percentage of missing days, and stimulation amplitude. Cluster analysis was performed using Gaussian mixture models that categorized patients into six main groups.

Results: The six groups and their prevalence can be summarized as Cluster 1A: Excellent Use (34%); Cluster 1B: Excellent Use with variable timing (23%); Cluster 2A: Good Use with missing days and late therapy ON (16%), Cluster 2B: Good Use with missing days, late therapy ON, and early therapy OFF (12%); Cluster 3A: Variable Use with frequent missing days (8%); Cluster 3B: Variable Use with frequent pauses (7%). Most patients (85%) are excellent or good users with mean therapy use >6 hours per night.

Conclusions: Cluster analysis of early UAS usage patterns identified six distinct groups that may enable personalized interventions for improved long-term management. Differentiation of the patient clusters may have clinical implications with regard to sleep hygiene education, therapy discomfort, comorbid insomnia, and other conditions that impact adherence.

Keywords: cluster analysis; hypoglossal nerve stimulation; obstructive sleep apnea; upper airway stimulation.

MeSH terms

  • Cluster Analysis
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive* / therapy
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders*