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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Pulmonary Medicine 1/2017

A prospective observational study to evaluate the effect of social and personality factors on continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) compliance in obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome

BMC Pulmonary Medicine > Ausgabe 1/2017
Atul Gulati, Masood Ali, Mike Davies, Tim Quinnell, Ian Smith



Compliance with CPAP treatment for OSAS is not reliably predicted by the severity of symptoms or physiological variables. We examined a range of factors which could be measured before CPAP initiation to look for predictors of compliance.


This was a prospective cohort-study of CPAP treatment for OSAS, recording; socio-economic status, education, type D personality and clinician’s prediction of compliance.


We recruited 265 subjects, of whom 221 were still using CPAP at 6 months; median age 53 years, M: F, 3.4:1, ESS 15 and pre-treatment ODI 21/h. Median compliance at 6 months was 5.6 (3.4– 7.1) hours/night with 73.3% of subjects using CPAP ≥4 h/night. No association was found between compliance and different socio-economic classes for people in work, type D personality, education level, sex, age, baseline ESS or ODI. The clinician’s initial impression could separate groups of good and poor compliers but had little predictive value for individual patients. Compared to subjects who were working, those who were long term unemployed had a lower CPAP usage and were more likely to use CPAP < 4 h a night (OR 4.6; p value 0.011). A high Beck Depression Index and self-reported anxiety also predicted poor compliance.


In our practice there is no significant association between CPAP compliance with socio-economic status, education or personality type. Long term unemployed or depressed individuals may need more intensive support to gain the optimal benefit from CPAP.
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