By Amy Orciari Herman
Positive airway pressure is associated with lower mortality in obese patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea, according to findings in JAMA Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery.
Using data from an observational study, researchers matched some 80 obese patients with OSA who were prescribed positive airway pressure to 310 who were not. During roughly 11 years’ follow-up, the mortality rate was nearly twice as high among those not prescribed positive airway pressure (25 per 1000 person-years, vs. 13 per 1000 with positive airway pressure).
After adjustment for prevalent cardiovascular disease and other confounders, the treatment group saw a 62% reduction in all-cause mortality — a benefit that appeared about 6 to 7 years after the prescription.
The authors note that treatment adherence couldn’t be verified. Nonetheless, a commentator says the study will make “clinicians’ jobs a little easier by enabling them to present to their patients evidence that [positive airway pressure] may be associated with reduced mortality.”