CPAP for OSA improves quality of life but not reduce CVD events

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Goodfellow Gems

"CPAP for OSA improves quality of life but does not reduce CVD events"

There is often pressure to get help for patients with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) in case they have a cardiovascular event. 

An ABC Radio Health Report podcast refers to a trial where Prof Ron Grunstein, an investigator, explained that the patients studied were primarily men who had moderate-to-severe OSA and coronary or cerebrovascular disease. They received continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment plus usual care (CPAP group) or usual care alone (usual care group).1 There were 3246 participants in the study.2 There were no differences in terms of CVD outcomes. However the CPAP group had better Epworth sleepiness scores, depression, anxiety and quality of life scores. 

The take home message is that patients do better in terms of subjective measures of living but with no gain in terms of CVD events.


  1. ABC National Health report podcast. Breathing machine makes life with sleep apnoea easier, but probably doesn’t prevent cardiac events. Click here.
  2. Doug McEvoy et al, CPAP for Prevention of Cardiovascular Events in Obstructive Sleep Apnea, New England Journal of Medicine August 28th 2016. Click here.

Gems are chosen by the Goodfellow director Dr. Bruce Arroll to be either practice changing or practice maintaining. The information is educational and not clinical advice.

As published in NZ Doctor 12/10/2016