SEATTLE, WA—According to data presented at SLEEP 2015, children with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) that adhered to positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy demonstrated improvements in quality of life (QoL).

Previous research has demonstrated an enhanced QoL after tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy procedures for treatment of OSAS. However, not much has been studied regarding the full impact of PAP treatment on an individual’s QoL. A team of researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Psychology in Birmingham, AL evaluated the change of QoL in children with OSAS prior to and after PAP therapy (n=40).

All patients with an OSAS diagnosis by polysomnography were examined at diagnosis and after three months of PAP therapy. Outcome measures included Obstructive Sleep Apnea-18 (OSA-18) scores, measuring change of OSAS on QoL and PAP adherence at three months. Of the patients who completed the study, no significant differences were seen between those who returned and did not return for follow-up regarding  demographic, pre-PAP polysomnography, or paper measures.

Study data showed a significant improvement in OSA-18 total QoL scores with the use of PAP (t[19]=9.147; P<0.001). There was a significant correlation between change in QoL and PAP adherence (r=0.597; P<0.01).  Mary Lynch, BS, the study’s lead author, reported that “patients adherent to PAP therapy ≥4 hours a night had significantly greater change in QoL than those who were less adherent (P<0.05).”

Patient’s age and body mass index (BMI) were found to be significant predictors of compliance (chi-square [2]=7.377; P<0.05). Specifically, one unit increase in age correlated to a decrease in adherence by 9%. For one unit increase in BMI, the chances of adherence decreased by 12.3%.

A significant difference was observed between the patients using PAP for ≥4 hours vs. those who did not. Factors like increasing age and BMI were also correlated to decreased adherence. Study findings support the possible use of PAP therapy in improving QoL, Lynch concluded.