Sleep and Breathing

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 41–48 | Cite as

Effects of CPAP therapy on cognitive and psychomotor performances in patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea: a prospective 1-year study

  • Renata PecoticEmail author
  • Ivana Pavlinac Dodig
  • Maja Valic
  • Tea Galic
  • Linda Lusic Kalcina
  • Natalija Ivkovic
  • Zoran Dogas
Sleep Breathing Physiology and Disorders • Original Article


Study objectives

We prospectively investigated the effects of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) on long-term cognitive and psychomotor performances, and excessive daytime sleepiness in severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients.


A total of 40 patients were recruited and 23 patients with severe OSA fully completed the study protocol to investigate the effects of CPAP therapy on psychomotor performance at 1, 3, and 6 months and 1 year following initiation of the therapy. Psychomotor CRD-series tests measuring reaction times of light stimulus perception, solving simple arithmetic operations, and complex psychomotor limb coordination, were used in this study. The data collected following CPAP therapy were compared to baseline values prior to the CPAP treatment for each patient.


All of the measured variables improved following CPAP treatment. However, the most pronounced effect was observed in improvement of reaction times to complex psychomotor limb coordination test (p < 0.05). Self-reported evaluation of excessive daytime sleepiness measured by Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) showed significant decrease from 10.0 ± 1.1 before to 3.5 ± 0.5 (p < 0.001), after 1 year on CPAP therapy.


The CPAP therapy improved cognitive and psychomotor performance on CRD-series tests with the most significant improvement observed in complex psychomotor limb coordination of severe OSA patients.


Obstructive sleep apnea Continuous positive airway pressure Cognitive Psychomotor Sleepiness 



The authors wish to thank Jelena Baricevic and Dijana Radanovic bacc. med. techn. for their technical assistance.


Croatian Science Foundation provided financial support in the form of grant #IP-11-2013-5935 funding.

The sponsor had no role in the design or conduct of this research.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee (Ethics Committee of the University of Split School of Medicine (USSM)) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neuroscience and Split Sleep Medicine CenterUniversity of Split School of MedicineSplitCroatia
  2. 2.Study of Dental Medicine and Department of NeuroscienceUniversity of Split School of MedicineSplitCroatia
  3. 3.Split Sleep Medicine CenterUniversity Hospital Split and University of Split School of MedicineSplitCroatia

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