Nasal Cannula Relieves Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Less invasive than CPAP, patients may be more likely to comply with treatment

TUESDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- A relatively non-invasive cannula that delivers warm, humidified air to nasal passages can reduce sleep apnea symptoms and may be more acceptable to patients than continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, according to a report in the July issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Patient compliance to CPAP is only 50 percent to 60 percent due to side effects such as nasal irritation, claustrophobia and skin breakdown, the authors note.

Hartmut Schneider, M.D., and colleagues from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore exposed 11 patients with mild-to-severe obstructive apnea-hypopnea syndrome to 0 L, 10 L or 20 L of nasal insufflation at five-minute intervals. Patients then received 0 or 20 L on separate nights.

At 20 L/minute, the respiratory arousal index declined from 18 to eight events per hour and the mean apnea-hypopnea index declined from 28 to 10 events per hour.

"Nasal insufflation can provide distinct clinical advantages over CPAP for a substantial proportion of the patient population with sleep apnea," the authors write. "Further studies will be required to extend these findings and to determine the ultimate role of nasal insufflation in managing obstructive sleep apnea."

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