CPAP combined with oral appliance therapy reduces CPAP requirements and pharyngeal pressure swings in obstructive sleep apnea

Benjamin K. Tong, Carolin Tran, Andrea Ricciardiello, Michelle Donegan, Alan K.I. Chiang, Irene Szollosi, Jason Amatoury, Jayne C. Carberry, Danny J. Eckert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Oral appliance (OA) therapy is the leading alternative to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It is well tolerated compared with CPAP. However, ≥50% of patients using OA therapy have incomplete resolution of their OSA. Combination therapy with CPAP and oral appliance (CPAP + OA) is a potential alternative for incomplete responders to OA therapy. This study aimed to determine the extent to which combination therapy reduces therapeutic CPAP requirements using gold-standard physiological methodology in those who have an incomplete response to OA therapy alone. Sixteen incomplete responders [residual apnea/hypopnea index (AHI) > 10 events/h] to a novel OA with a built-in oral airway were recruited (3 women:13 men, aged 31–65 yr, body mass index: 22–38 kg/m 2, residual AHI range: 13–63 events/h). Participants were fitted with a nasal mask, pneumotachograph, epiglottic pressure catheter, and standard polysomnography equipment. CPAP titrations were performed during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) supine sleep in each participant during three conditions (order randomized): CPAP only, CPAP + OA (oral airway open), and CPAP + OA (oral airway closed). OSA was resolved at pressures of 4±2 and 5±2 cmH 2O during CPAP + OA (oral airway open) and CPAP + OA (oral airway closed) conditions versus 8±2 cmH 2O during CPAP only (P < 0.01). Negative epiglottic pressure swings in oral airway open and closed conditions were normalized to CPAP only levels [-2.5(-3.7, -2.6) vs. -2.3(-3.2, -2.4) vs. -2.1(-2.7, -2.3) cmH 2O]. Combined CPAP and OA therapy reduces therapeutic CPAP requirements by 35%–45% and minimizes epiglottic pressure swings. This combination may be a therapeutic alternative for patients with incomplete responses to OA therapy alone and those who cannot tolerate high CPAP levels. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Combined CPAP and oral appliance therapy has been suggested as an alternative for incomplete responders to oral appliance therapy. We used a novel oral appliance incorporating an oral airway together with CPAP to show that pharyngeal pressure swings were normalized at reduced CPAP levels. Our findings demonstrate that using CPAP and oral appliance together may be a beneficial alternative for incomplete responders to oral appliance therapy and intolerant CPAP users due to high-pressure requirements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085-1091
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology: Respiratory, Environmental and Exercise Physiology
Volume129
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • non-CPAP therapies
  • sleep-disordered breathing
  • upper airway

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