Positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy adherence can be affected by rhinitis sicca and xerostomia complaints. Additional heated humidification (HH) is the appropriate method when such complaints arise. The aim of this study was to determine if HH with a supplementary heated breathing tube can increase adherence, reduce subjective nasopharyngeal complaints (NPC), and improve sleepiness (ESS: Epworth Sleepiness Scale) and quality of life (FOSQ: Functional Outcome of Sleep Questionnaire).
We subdivided 72 obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients into two groups before therapy initiation. The NPC risk group consists of subjects with NPC and the low-risk group without. The risk group was identified by a score of >9 in a 5-item 25-point NPC questionnaire and pathological ESS. All patients were eligible for automatic CPAP devices (APAP), which were randomly configured with or without HH during 6 weeks.
The adherence differences with and without HH were not significant in the NPC risk group (330 ± 103 vs. 281 ± 118 min/night) and in the low-risk group (330 ± 116 vs. 321 ± 89). NPC and ESS scores in the risk group were both significantly reduced with HH. Daily function (FOSQ) in the risk group was significantly improved with HH (90.0 ± 11.9 vs. 82.0 ± 12.0 (p < 0.05)).
HH showed a tendency to improve APAP adherence. The adherence in both groups was quite high, and for that reason, it is difficult to show a statistically significant effect. A differentiation into NPC risk groups before starting PAP treatment is useful. HH reduces side effects and sleepiness and improves quality of life in an NPC risk group.
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This research was supported by Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.
Conflicts of interest
K.H. Ruhle and G. Nilius have received research funding from Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Heinen und Löwenstein, ResMed and Weinmann; this has gone into department funds. Karl-Josef Franke, Ulrike Domanski, and Maik Schroeder have no financial or other potential conflicts of interest associated with this investigation.
The study was approved by the ethic committee of the university of Witten/Herdecke. The study is registered in the Clinical Trial Register under the ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT01517750.
Clinical trial registration
The study is registered under the ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT01517750
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Nilius, G., Franke, K.J., Domanski, U. et al. Effect of APAP and heated humidification with a heated breathing tube on adherence, quality of life, and nasopharyngeal complaints. Sleep Breath 20, 43–49 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11325-015-1182-2
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