Patients with Mild Apnea Less Likely to Comply to Therapy

Low apnea-hypopnea index is risk factor for non-compliance

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Sleep apnea patients with mild disease as evidenced by a low apnea-hypopnea index are more likely to be non-compliant with positive airway pressure treatment, according to a chart review in the January issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Ho-Sheng Lin, M.D., of John D. Dingell Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Detroit, and colleagues sought to identify risk factors associated with non-compliance with positive airway pressure (PAP) among 131 sleep apnea patients. Of these, 48 patients did not comply with PAP therapy. The investigators found that a low apnea-hypopnea index correlated with such non-compliance.

Patients with milder disease may not have overwhelming daytime symptoms and, as a result, they may not perceive any benefits from the inconvenient and costly PAP, the researchers suggest. Sex, body mass index, tobacco and alcohol use, age, neck circumference, Epworth Sleepiness Scale score and titrated inspiratory pressure did not affect compliance.

"Patients with obstructive sleep apnea and with a low apnea-hypopnea index may warrant closer follow-up to allow early identification of PAP treatment failure owing to non-compliance and to allow timely institution of other treatment modalities, such as surgery," the study authors conclude.

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