Study objective: This study aimed to evaluate the effects of nasal continuous positive airway pressure (nCPAP) therapy on sleep and daytime symptoms of bed partners and patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Design: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey.
Setting: The sleep laboratory of a university teaching hospital.
Patients: Ninety-one consecutive OSA patients within 2 to 12 months of being prescribed nCPAP.
Results: Eighty-five replies (93% of sample population) were received. Twelve patients (14% of replies) had discontinued nCPAP therapy; two patients had not yet been supplied with an nCPAP device. Seventy-one patients continued nightly nCPAP therapy. Bed partners of these patients (n = 55) answered a separate questionnaire assessing improvements in their own sleep quality, daytime alertness, mood and quality of life (questions 1 to 4), and evaluated the same parameters for the patients (questions 5 to 8). Possible scores ranged from -1 (worse) to +3 (marked improvement). Questions 1 to 4 yielded median scores of 2, 1, 1, and 2, respectively, and scores of 3, 3, 2, and 3 for questions 5 to 8. A ninth question addressing perceived changes in the quality of their relationship resulted in a median score of 2. Mean (SD) Epworth sleepiness scores improved from 14.3 (5.8) to 5.2 (4.3) in patients receiving therapy (p < 0.005).
Conclusions: These data indicate that bed partners of OSA patients treated with nCPAP experience important improvements in symptoms and personal relationships. The findings are of practical clinical use when counseling patients with OSA and their partners on the likely impact of nCPAP therapy on their quality of life.