When are patients considered compliant for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)?

Updated: Sep 15, 2020
  • Author: Himanshu Wickramasinghe, MD, MBBS; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

Generally, patients have been considered compliant if they use their CPAP device more than 4 hours per night, 5-7 nights per week. However, a 2007 study questioned what is optimal CPAP usage. [169] In this study, nightly duration of use required to normalize daytime functioning was examined for 3 common functional measures. The thresholds above which further improvements were less likely were 4 hours for the ESS score, 6 hours for the multiple sleep latency test (MSLT), and 7.5 hours for the Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire.

This study illustrates that patients who are considered to have good compliance by accepted definitions may, in fact, be undertreated and that patients should be encouraged to use positive airway pressure for at least 7 hours per night.


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