Compliance with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is one of the most difficult management problems for patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). We postulated that autotitration positive airway pressure (APAP) may be effective in some patients who have an intolerance of fixed CPAP. The study was done to estimate how often patients who cannot tolerate fixed CPAP can tolerate APAP. We identified 25 patients seen in the Sleep Disorders Center who had been treated with fixed CPAP for OSA and were intolerant of CPAP therapy despite multiple efforts to improve tolerance. We substituted APAP therapy and measured subjective and objective compliance with treatment 1 month later. The primary end point was the number of patients who successfully tolerated the use of APAP at the end of 30 days, measured objectively by the device's compliance monitor. A positive outcome was defined as an average use of APAP that was greater than 3 h per night on more than 70% of possible nights. Of the 25 patients (mean age, 68 years; mean apnea-hypopnea index, 35), 11 were able to tolerate APAP therapy. The mean number of hours of use in these responders was 6.2; the mean percentage of nights of use among responders was 89%. Determinants of successful APAP use were an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) less than 18, male sex, OSA related to rapid eye movement, and a high body mass index. APAP therapy may be an effective option in patients who do not tolerate fixed-CPAP therapy.
- Autotitration positive airway pressure
- Body mass index
- Continuous positive airway pressure
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Rapid eye movements
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology