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A basic intervention improves CPAP adherence in sleep apnoea patients: a controlled trial

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The treatment of choice for sleep apnoea-hypopnoea syndrome (SAHS) is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). However, CPAP effectiveness strongly depends on patient adherence to treatment. The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a low-cost, basic intervention on improving CPAP adherence.


A controlled parallel-group trial. Participants were SAHS patients for whom CPAP treatment was indicated. Those in the intervention group were shown the results of their sleep test and were told the importance of treatment adherence; the control group received neither. Outcomes for both groups were compared at 6 months. The primary outcome assessed was CPAP usage.


One hundred fifty-four patients were included in the intervention group and 167 in the control group. At 6 months, the intervention group had 10 % more participants with CPAP usage ≥4 h, significantly higher adherence as compared to controls (5 ± 1.8 h vs 4.3 ± 1.7, p = 0.031), mean: 0.7 h/day and fewer discontinuations of CPAP. A multiple linear regression model showed that intervention group and daytime sleepiness were variables independently associated with treatment adherence.


An inexpensive basic intervention involving communication of sleep test results and the importance of CPAP adherence improves adherence to CPAP therapy. In addition, greater daytime sleepiness is associated with higher CPAP adherence.

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The authors would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank the supporting nurses of the CPAP-school (Sleep Unit and Linde Medicinal) of Reina Sofia University Hospital who contributed to the present research.


This work was supported in part by Neumocor association.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Author information

Correspondence to W. A. Bardwell.

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Jurado-Gamez, B., Bardwell, W.A., Cordova-Pacheco, L.J. et al. A basic intervention improves CPAP adherence in sleep apnoea patients: a controlled trial. Sleep Breath 19, 509–514 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11325-014-1038-1

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  • Adherence
  • Continuous positive airway pressure
  • Interventional program
  • Sleep apnoea-hypopnoea syndrome