The effectiveness of a nighttime-breathing machine called a "CPAP" for treating obstructive sleep apnea was backed by the strongest evidence, and a mouthpiece worn at night was also shown to be effective, according to a new report funded by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
Sleep apnea is a disorder that disrupts sleep for an estimated 12 million Americans, with millions more likely undiagnosed. The report found that the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which pumps air through a mask while the patient is asleep, is highly effective in improving sleep and related symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea by improving airflow. Another treatment, a mouthpiece called a mandibular advancement device (MAD), can also be very effective, the report found.
Weight loss and surgery may also be effective, although the evidence behind these treatments is not as strong, according to the report, a comparative effectiveness review prepared by the Tufts Medical Center Evidence-based Practice Center for AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program. The report does note that all treatments have possible side effects.
To highlight the findings of the report, AHRQ also published guides for consumers and clinicians that summarize the latest evidence for treating obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that can lead to heart disease, diabetes and multiple other health problems. The report and the companion guides are available at http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov.
Guide for patients: http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/search-for-guides-reviews-and-r…
Guide for clinicians: http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/search-for-guides-reviews-and-r…
The report, Comparative Effectiveness Review of the Diagnosis and Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Adults, is the latest comparative effectiveness review from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program. The Effective Health Care Program sponsors the development of evidence reports and technology assessments to assist public- and private-sector organizations in their efforts to improve the quality of health care in the United States. The program is intended to help patients, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others choose the most effective treatments.
Nighttime-breathing Treatments Backed by Strongest Evidence among Options To Treat Sleep Apnea. Press Release, August 8, 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/press/pr2011/ehccpappr.htm