Nasal pillows as an alternative interface in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome initiating continuous positive airway pressure therapy
Side-effects directly due to the nasal mask are common in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) commencing continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Recently, nasal pillows have been designed to overcome these issues. Limited evidence exists of the benefits and effectiveness of these devices. Twenty-one patients (19 male, 49 ± 10 years) with the established diagnosis of OSAS [apnoea/hypopnoea index (AHI): 52 ± 22] and who had a successful CPAP titration were commenced on CPAP therapy (10 ± 2 cmH2O), and randomized to 4 weeks of a nasal pillow (P) and a standard nasal mask (M) in a crossover design. Outcome measures were objective compliance, AHI, quality of life, Epworth Sleepiness Score (ESS) and CPAP side-effects. There was no difference in compliance (M versus P: 5.1 ± 1.9 h versus 5.0 ± 1.7 h; P = 0.701) and AHI (2.6 ± 2.7 versus 3.0 ± 2.9; P = 0.509). Quality of life and ESS improved with CPAP, but there was no difference in the extent of improvement between both devices. Usage of nasal pillows resulted in less reported pressure on the face and more subjects found the nasal pillow the more comfortable device. However, there was no clear overall preference for either device at the end of the study (mask = 57%, pillow = 43%; P = 0.513). The applied CPAP pressure did not correlate with compliance, AHI and ESS. Furthermore, no differences in outcome parameters were noted comparing groups with CPAP pressure <10 and ≥10 cm H2O. Nasal pillows are equally effective in CPAP therapy, but do not generally lead to improved compliance.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Sleep Research Laboratory, St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
Publication date: 2011-06-01