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IntroductionVibrotactile positional therapy (PT) devices are a new treatment modality for positional obstructive sleep apnoea (POSA). This review aimed to determine the effect of vibrotactile PT on the Apnoea Hypopnoea Index (AHI) and the percentage of time spent in the supine position (%Tsupine) in patients with POSA, compared with baseline. Secondary aims were to investigate the effect on daytime sleepiness, quality of life and sleep quality.MethodsA systematic review and meta-analysis was performed of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and cohort studies that investigated the effect of vibrotactile PT in POSA patients. Searches were performed via MEDLINE, CENTRAL and Embase up to 29 October 2022.Results1119 studies were identified, 18 studies met the inclusion criteria (10 RCTs, 8 cohort studies). The use of vibrotactile PT significantly reduced the AHI at follow-up compared with baseline (mean difference (95% CI) -9.19 events/hour (-11.68 to -6.70); p<0.00001). The mean %Tsupine was also significantly reduced (mean difference (95% CI) -32.79% (-38.75% to -26.83%); p<0.00001). The percentage changes in the AHI and %Tsupine were 43% and 70%, respectively. Secondary outcomes were daytime sleepiness, quality of life and sleep indices. These showed minimal change, although follow-up was short.ConclusionVibrotactile PT devices are effective in treating POSA; reducing both AHI and %Tsupine. The effect on sleep quality, daytime sleepiness and disease-specific quality of life was minimal. However, there were limited data and follow-up was often brief, meaning that further research is needed to determine the effect of vibrotactile PT on patient-centred outcomes.Prospero registration numberCRD42020188617.

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Journal article



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National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, UK