The Power of Positive-Airway Pressure

Continuous positive-airway pressure shown to boost energy in sleep apnea patients

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Continuous positive-airway pressure (CPAP) therapy in sleep apnea patients results in less fatigue and increased energy in patients.

According to a new study from San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego, after three weeks of CPAP therapy, patients self-reported increased energy levels, according to a vigor-activity scale, which increased significantly from 14.28 points at baseline to 16.52 points following treatment. Patients who received placebo CPAP did not report any significant change using the vigor-activity scale.

The study marked one of the first double-blind assessments of the effects of CPAP on fatigue, according to lead author Lianne Tomfohr, graduate research assistant in the joint doctoral program at San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego. She said the results indicate that CPAP allows patients to "find relief from fatigue ... after a relatively short treatment period."

The study followed 59 adults with a mean age of 48 years who suffered from an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of 10 or more partial reductions (hypopneas) and complete pauses (apneas) in breathing per hour of sleep.

More than 18 million Americans suffer obstructive sleep apnea, but less than half of them use CPAP therapy on a regular basis, according to the National Sleep Foundation. CPAP is typically covered by insurance providers as a durable medical equipment benefit. 

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Review Date: 
January 7, 2011
Last Updated:
January 7, 2011