Wednesday, June 30, 2010

CPAP Versus Positional Therapy for Sleep Apnea

I just finished another article in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. It was a study about patients with mild to moderate positional obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) - in this case, the patients only had OSA on their backs, and not on their sides.

I see this type of OSA less often. It usually is in patients who have a normal body weight or only mildly overweight. However, OSA is often worse when patients sleep on their back, but they usually have it on their sides as well. Those patients were not the focus of this study.

CPAP was tested against a device worn at night to keep people on their sides - the Zzoma . The authors found that the Zzoma was just as effective as CPAP in treating position-dependent mild to moderate OSA. This is good news, as sometimes patients with this type of OSA do not want or do not tolerate CPAP. I usually tell patients with this type of OSA to use a wall of pillows to keep them off of their back when they sleep. Some of these patients also respond better to an oral appliance worn at night. Now, they have another option.

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