It’s a problem we’ve talked about before: when CPAP is used to treat obstructive sleep apnea, it may sometimes cause central sleep apnea (CSA). CSA is when your brain just stops telling your lungs to breathe. This causes a major treatment problem. Not only does it make people thoroughly dependent on CPAP for life, but it can make it harder for them to get good treatment results. CPAP may represent only a marginal gain over the long-term for these patients.

Now ResMed, a major manufacturer of CPAP equipment, claims it has the answer: A high-tech variation on CPAP called adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV). A new study funded by the company shows that it can help people in this situation. But many people might benefit from avoiding CPAP in the first place so they can avoid developing central sleep apnea.

CPAP machine, mask and hose

Poor Compliance Improves with ASV

The main issue that the study looked at is how people on CPAP who developed CSA responded after switching to ASV. The data was drawn from the devices of nearly 200,000 patients in the US.

As with many CPAP users, this population had low initial compliance with CPAP. Only 62.7% were using their device for a minimum of four hours on 70% of nights. However, after these patients switched to ASV, their compliance rate increased to 76.6%, bringing them in line with other CPAP and ASV users, who both had compliance rates around 73%.

People who switched from CPAP to ASV also saw their apnea rate drop from about 17 to about four events per hour, although the study didn’t report whether daytime sleepiness and other quality of life measures also improved.

Another Reason to Consider Oral Appliances

Many people are likely to get good results from either CPAP or oral appliances. For some of these cases, oral appliances might be a better option because it may help them avoid treatment-emergent CSA. By reserving CPAP for cases that won’t benefit from oral appliances, we might reduce the incidence of CSA and encourage people to breathe more strongly on their own.

Oral appliance therapy can be aimed at improving a person’s health and freeing them from treatment. When combined with lifestyle modification aimed at increasing exercise and reducing weight, oral appliances can potentially lead to curing sleep apnea. On the other hand CPAP can lead to increased dependence on treatment.

If you are looking for more information about treatment options for your sleep apnea in Omaha, please call (402) 493-4175 today for an appointment with a sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.