Trajectories of Emergent Central Sleep Apnea During CPAP Therapy

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The emergence of central sleep apnea (CSA) during positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy has been observed clinically in approximately 10% of obstructive sleep apnea titration studies. This study assessed a PAP database to investigate trajectories of treatment-emergent CSA during continuous PAP (CPAP) therapy.


U.S. telemonitoring device data were analyzed for the presence/absence of emergent CSA at baseline (week 1) and week 13. Defined groups were as follows: obstructive sleep apnea (average central apnea index [CAI] < 5/h in week 1, < 5/h in week 13); transient CSA (CAI ≥ 5/h in week 1, < 5/h in week 13); persistent CSA (CAI ≥ 5/h in week 1, ≥ 5/h in week 13); emergent CSA (CAI < 5/h in week 1, ≥ 5/h in week 13).


Patients (133,006) used CPAP for ≥ 90 days and had ≥ 1 day with use of ≥ 1 h in week 1 and week 13. The proportion of patients with CSA in week 1 or week 13 was 3.5%; of these, CSA was transient, persistent, or emergent in 55.1%, 25.2%, and 19.7%, respectively. Patients with vs without treatment-emergent CSA were older, had higher residual apnea-hypopnea index and CAI at week 13, and more leaks (all P < .001). Patients with any treatment-emergent CSA were at higher risk of therapy termination vs those who did not develop CSA (all P < .001).


Our study identified a variety of CSA trajectories during CPAP therapy, identifying several different clinical phenotypes. Identification of treatment-emergent CSA by telemonitoring could facilitate early intervention to reduce the risk of therapy discontinuation and shift to more efficient ventilator modalities.

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