, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 563-569
Date: 11 Jun 2011

Adherence to CPAP therapy improves quality of life and reduces symptoms among obstructive sleep apnea syndrome patients

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The aim of the study was to asses quality of life and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) patients after adhering to 6 months of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment.


A group of 50 patients (41 men and 9 women) were diagnosed by polysomnography and treated with CPAP therapy for 6 months. Their symptoms and health-related quality of life were assessed by administering a validated and translated version of the sleep apnea quality of life index (SAQLI). Sleepiness was measured using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and through electronic monitoring of CPAP usage per night of sleep.


Mean CPAP usage was 4.5 ± 0.5 h per night. Comparisons between quality of life indexes before and after CPAP treatment showed an improvement in the total SAQLI score (3.8 ± 0.9 vs. 5.8 ± 0.8 after CPAP, p < 0.01), in daily functioning (4.2 ± 1.4 vs. 6.0 ± 0.9, p < 0.01), social interactions (4.8 ± 1.3 vs.6.3 ± 0.7, p < 0.01), emotional functioning (4.4 ± 1.4 vs. 5.7 ± 1.0, p < 0.01), symptoms (1.6 ± 0.8 vs. 5.8 ± 1.2, p < 0.01), and in the ESS (13.7 ± 6.5 vs. 3.9 ± 3.8, p < 0.01). Regarding the patients’ symptoms, improvement was noticed for “sleepiness while watching a spectacle” (96%), “reading” (95%), “carrying on a conversation” (95%), “driving” (92.9%), “restless sleep” (87.8%), and “urinating more than once per night” (84.8%). Smaller improvements were observed for the reported “dry mouth–throat upon awakening” (36.1%),“excessive fatigue” (54.5%), and “decreased energy” (55.3%).


We conclude that OSAS patients who adhere to nighttime CPAP therapy show significant improvement of their quality of life, daytime sleepiness, and other symptoms after 6 months of treatment with CPAP.

Conference presentations

Part of this work has been presented in the 19th Congress of the European Sleep Research Society (ESRS), Glasgow, 9–13 September2008 and also in the CHEST Conference, Chicago, Illinois, 20–25 October 2007.