Sleep apnea is associated with many serious health conditions that can send you to the hospital. Heart failure, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and more are associated with sleep apnea. But the danger doesn’t decrease once you’re in the hospital. Sleep apnea can increase your risk of complications at the hospital.
But a new study shows that sleep apnea treatment can have a significant protective effect, reducing your risks.
Deteriorating Patient Dangers
Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University wanted to see whether sleep apnea made patients deteriorate in hospital care. They used the hospital’s rapid response system (RRS) as a gauge of patient decline, because this is the system designed to activate and reverse serious, even fatal declines in patient health.
Researchers screened nearly 2600 obese patients to determine their sleep apnea risk. These patients were divided into high risk and low risk categories, with more than three-quarters (76%) falling into the high risk category. All high-risk patients were given further evaluations and were started on CPAP if they had sleep apnea. Patients who didn’t have good results with CPAP were sometimes migrated to BiPAP or other forms that helped them adapt.
Low risk patients only required 26 RRS interventions for every 1000 patients. High risk patients that didn’t get any PAP treatment needed 56 RRS interventions for every 1000 patients–over twice as many. When high risk patients were compliant with their PAP treatment, they only needed 17 interventions per 1000 patients, but if they weren’t compliant, they needed 52 treatments per 1000, as if they hadn’t received any treatment at all.
When CPAP Is as Good as No Treatment
This study reminds us that the major obstacle for CPAP treatment is compliance. In this study, 677 patients were prescribed CPAP, but only 471, about 70% were compliant with the treatment.
Now, 70% might seem like a high compliance rate, but you have to consider that compliance was only measured during an actual hospital stay, which averaged 7 days. During this time, CPAP patients received frequent adjustments of their equipment and were even adjusted to other treatments like BiPAP to help improve compliance. It’s not hard to guess what will happen to that 70% compliance rate over the months and months that follow their release from the hospital.
If you are in this situation, you need a sleep apnea treatment that is both effective and convenient so that you will stick with it. It’s no exaggeration to say your life could be at stake.
Fortunately, oral appliances are a great alternative to CPAP. When compliance for oral appliances is defined the same as for CPAP, it approaches 100%.