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Retrospective, nonrandomized controlled study on autoadjusting, dual-pressure positive airway pressure therapy for a consecutive series of complex insomnia disorder patients

Authors Krakow B, McIver ND, Ulibarri VA, Nadorff MR

Received 18 August 2016

Accepted for publication 28 November 2016

Published 10 March 2017 Volume 2017:9 Pages 81—95

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NSS.S120048

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Prof. Dr. Roumen Kirov

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Steven A Shea


Video abstract presented by Barry Krakow.

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Barry Krakow,1–3 Natalia D McIver,1,2 Victor A Ulibarri,1,2 Michael R Nadorff4,5

1Sleep & Human Health Institute, 2Maimonides Sleep Arts & Sciences, Ltd, Albuquerque, 3Los Alamos Medical Center, Los Alamos, NM, 4Department of Psychology, Mississippi State University, Mississippi, MS, 5Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA


Purpose: Emerging evidence shows that positive airway pressure (PAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) in chronic insomnia patients (proposed “complex insomnia” disorder) leads to substantial decreases in insomnia severity. Although continuous PAP (CPAP) is the pressure mode most widely researched, intolerance to fixed pressurized air is rarely investigated or described in comorbidity patients. This retrospective study examined dual pressure, autoadjusting PAP modes in chronic, complex insomnia disorder patients.
Patients and methods: Chronic insomnia disorder patients (mean [SD] insomnia severity index [ISI] =19.11 [3.34]) objectively diagnosed with OSA or UARS and using either autobilevel PAP device or adaptive servoventilation (ASV) device after failing CPAP therapy (frequently due to intolerance to pressurized air, poor outcomes, or emergence of CSA) were divided into PAP users (≥20 h/wk) and partial users (<20 h/wk) for comparison. Subjective and objective baseline and follow-up measures were analyzed.
Results: Of the 302 complex insomnia patients, PAP users (n=246) averaged 6.10 (1.78) nightly hours and 42.71 (12.48) weekly hours and partial users (n=56) averaged 1.67 (0.76) nightly hours and 11.70 (5.31) weekly hours. For mean (SD) decreases in total ISI scores, a significant (group × time) interaction was observed (F[1,300]=13.566; P<0.0001) with PAP users (–7.59 [5.92]; d=1.63) showing superior results to partial users (-4.34 [6.13]; d=0.81). Anecdotally, patients reported better tolerability with advanced PAP compared to previous experience with CPAP. Both adaptive servoventilation and autobilevel PAP showed similar ISI score improvement without statistical differences between devices. Total weekly hours of PAP use correlated inversely with change in insomnia symptoms (r=-0.256, P<0.01).
Conclusion: Insomnia severity significantly decreased in patients using autoadjusting PAP devices, but the study design restricts interpretation to an association. Future research must elucidate the interaction between insomnia and OSA/UARS as well as the adverse influence of pressure intolerance on PAP adaptation in complex insomnia patients. Randomized controlled studies must determine whether advanced PAP modes provide benefits over standard CPAP modes in these comorbidity patients.

Keywords: insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, upper airway resistance syndrome, CPAP failure, autobilevel, adaptive servoventilation

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