Improvement of mild sleep-disordered breathing with CPAP compared with conservative therapy

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1998 Mar;157(3 Pt 1):858-65. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.157.3.9709042.


The aim of this randomized controlled trial was to assess the effects of treatment with continuous positive airway pressure versus conservative therapy (CT) on well-being, mood, and functional status in subjects with mild sleep-disordered breathing (SDB). One hundred and eleven subjects, aged 25 to 65 yr, with a respiratory disturbance index (RDI) of 5 to 30 and without subjective pathologic sleepiness, were randomized to nasal CPAP or to CT. Ninety-seven subjects were followed-up after 8 wk. Treatment response was assessed from changes between baseline and follow-up measures of mood, energy/fatigue, and functional status/general health. Of the 51 subjects randomized to CPAP, 25 (49%) experienced an improved outcome, as compared with 12 of 46 of subjects (26%) randomized to CT (p < 0.05). The odds of experiencing a treatment response in the CPAP as compared with the CT group were 2.72 (OR: 1.18 to 6.58, 95% CI). A beneficial effect of CPAP over CT was most evident among individuals without sinus problems and among subjects with hypertension or diabetes. Differential treatment responses were not related to degree of baseline sleepiness or SDB. This suggests that middle-aged snorers with relatively low levels of SDB (RDI < 30) may benefit more from nasal CPAP than from less specific therapy directed at improving breathing during sleep. CPAP therapy may be beneficial to a broader group of subjects than previously appreciated.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Diabetes Complications
  • Dilatation
  • Fatigue / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Decongestants / therapeutic use
  • Odds Ratio
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration*
  • Respiration / physiology
  • Respiratory Therapy*
  • Sinusitis / complications
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / psychology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / therapy*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology
  • Snoring / physiopathology
  • Snoring / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Nasal Decongestants