Objective measurement of patterns of nasal CPAP use by patients with obstructive sleep apnea

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1993 Apr;147(4):887-95. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/147.4.887.


Obstruction of the upper airway during sleep (OSAS) is widely treated by having patients self-administer nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). To obtain objective evidence of the patterns of CPAP use, information was gathered from two urban sites on 35 OSAS patients who were prescribed CPAP for a total of 3,743 days. Patients were given CPAP machines that contained a microprocessor and monitor that measured actual pressure at the mask for every minute of each 24-h day for an average of 106 days per patient. They were not aware of the monitor inside the CPAP machines. Monitor output was compared with patients' diagnostic status, pretreatment clinical and demographic characteristics, and follow-up self-reports of CPAP use, problems, side effects, and aspects of daytime fatigue and sleepiness. Patients attempted to use CPAP an average of 66 +/- 37% of the days monitored. When CPAP was used, the mean duration of use was 4.88 +/- 1.97 h. However, patients' reports of the duration of CPAP use overestimated actual use by 69 +/- 110 min (p < 0.002). Both frequency and duration of CPAP use in the first month reliably predicted use in the third month (p < 0.0001). Although the majority (60%) of patients claimed to use CPAP nightly, only 16 of 35 (46%) met criteria for regular use, defined by at least 4 h of CPAP administered on 70% of the days monitored. Relative to less regular users, these 16 patients had more years of education (p = 0.05), and were more likely to work in professional occupations.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration* / adverse effects
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration* / methods
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires