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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Can’t Sleep? CPAP May Help

July 23, 2012

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Enough tossing and turning, time for a good nights sleep! New studies show evidence that a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) commonly used for treatment of severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is also effective in patients with mild and moderately severe OSA.

OSA is a condition in which the flow of air pauses or decreases during breathing while you are asleep because the airway has become narrowed, blocked, or floppy. There are three types: severe, moderate, and mild sleep apnea.

In a new study, 239 patients with newly diagnosed milder OSA and self-reported daytime sleepiness (an Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) score > 10) were randomized to eight weeks of active or sham (inactive) CPAP treatment. After the eight-week intervention, patients in the sham arm were crossed over to eight weeks of active treatment. After the initial eight week intervention, the score on the Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire (FOSQ), which measures the impact of daytime sleepiness on activities of daily living, was 0.89 for actively treated patients and -0.06 for sham-treated patients.

Mean improvement in FOSQ total score from the beginning to the end of the cross-over phase of the study was 1.73 ± 2.50. Significant improvements with active treatment were also seen in ESS scores, Physical Component scores on the Short-Form 36 health survey, and Total Mood Disturbance scores on the Profile of Mood States scale.

“Our multi-site, double-blind, randomized trial, the first placebo-controlled study to use sham CPAP in sleepy patients with mild to moderate OSA, shows that CPAP treatment effectively reduces symptoms and improves quality of life in these patients, the largest segment of the OSA population,” Terri E. Weaver, PhD, RN, professor and dean of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing was quoted saying.

“The improvements we saw were highly significant and clinically relevant,” added Dr. Weaver.

The study had some limitations, including a short mean duration of active daily CPAP treatment and a lower mean duration of sham daily CPAP treatment .

“Given the high prevalence of OSA, our study suggests that there is significant value in treating sleepy patients with mild to moderate disease,” Dr. Weaver continued.

Source: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, July 2012