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CPAP adherence curbs severe cardiovascular disease outcomes



Use of continuous positive-airway pressure devices for at least 4 hours a day was associated with a reduced risk of major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events in adults with cardiovascular disease and obstructive sleep apnea, based on data from more than 4,000 individuals.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, but the association between management of OSA with a continuous positive-airway pressure device (CPAP) and major adverse cardiac or cerebrovascular events (MACCEs) remains unclear, wrote Manuel Sánchez-de-la-Torre, PhD, of the University of Lleida, Spain, and colleagues.

In a meta-analysis published in JAMA, the researchers reviewed data from 4,186 individuals with a mean age of 61.2 years; 82.1% were men. The study population included 2,097 patients who used CPAP and 2,089 who did not. The mean apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) was 31.2 events per hour, and OSA was defined as an oxygen desaturation index of 12 events or more per hour or an AHI of 15 events or more per hour. The composite primary outcome included the first MACCE, or death from cardiovascular causes, myocardial infarction, stroke, revascularization procedure, hospital admission for heart failure, hospital admission for unstable angina, or hospital admission for transient ischemic attack. Each of these components was a secondary endpoint.

Overall, the primary outcome of MACCE was similar for CPAP and non-CPAP using patients (hazard ratio, 1.01) with a total of 349 MACCE events in the CPAP group and 342 in the non-CPAP group. The mean adherence to CPAP was 3.1 hours per day. A total of 38.5% of patients in the CPAP group met the criteria for good adherence, defined as a mean of 4 or more hours per day.

However, as defined, good adherence to CPAP significantly reduced the risk of MACCE, compared with no CPAP use (HR, 0.69), and a sensitivity analysis showed a significant risk reduction, compared with patients who did not meet the criteria for good adherence (HR, 0.55; P = .005).

“Adherence to treatment is complex to determine and there are other potential factors that could affect patient adherence, such as health education, motivation, attitude, self-efficacy, psychosocial factors, and other health care system–related features,” the researchers wrote in their discussion.

The findings were limited by several factors including the evaluation only of CPAP as a treatment for OSA, and the inability to assess separate components of the composite endpoint, the researchers noted. Other limitations included the relatively small number of female patients, reliance mainly on at-home sleep apnea tests, and the potential for selection bias, they said.

However, the results suggest that CPAP adherence is important to prevention of secondary cardiovascular outcomes in OSA patients, and that implementation of specific and personalized strategies to improve adherence to treatment should be a clinical priority, they concluded.

The study was funded by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, the European Union and FEDER, IRBLleida–Fundació Dr Pifarré, SEPAR, ResMed Ltd. (Australia), Associació Lleidatana de Respiratori, and CIBERES. Dr Sánchez-de-la-Torre also disclosed financial support from a Ramón y Cajal grant.

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