Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for symptomatic obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) improves sleepiness and reduces vascular risk, but such treatment for the more prevalent, minimally symptomatic disease is contentious. METHODS: This multicentre, randomised controlled, parallel, hospital-based trial across the UK and Canada, recruited 391 patients with confirmed OSA (oxygen desaturation index >7.5/h) but insufficient symptoms to warrant CPAP therapy. Patients were randomised to 6 months of auto-adjusting CPAP therapy, or standard care. Coprimary endpoints were change in Epworth Sleepiness Score (ESS) and predicted 5-year mortality using a cardiovascular risk score (components: age, sex, height, systolic blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, cholesterol, creatinine, left ventricular hypertrophy, previous myocardial infarction or stroke). Secondary endpoints included some of the individual components of the vascular risk score, objectively measured sleepiness and self-assessed health status. RESULTS: Of 391 patients randomised, 14 withdrew, 347 attended for their follow-up visit at 6 months within the predefined time window, of which 341 had complete ESS data (baseline mean 8.0, SD 4.3) and 310 had complete risk score data. 22% of patients in the CPAP group reported stopping treatment and overall median CPAP use was 2 : 39 h per night. CPAP significantly improved subjective daytime sleepiness (adjusted treatment effect on ESS -2.0 (95% CI -2.6 to -1.4), p<0.0001), objectively measured sleepiness and self-assessed health status. CPAP did not improve the 5-year calculated vascular risk or any of its components. CONCLUSIONS: In patients with minimally symptomatic OSA, CPAP can reduce subjective and objective daytime sleepiness, and improve self-assessed health status, but does not appear to improve calculated vascular risk.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1090 - 1096


Canada, Cardiovascular Diseases, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, Female, Health Status Indicators, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Sleep Apnea, Obstructive, Surveys and Questionnaires, Treatment Outcome, United Kingdom