Adherence to continuous positive airway pressure in adults with an intellectual disability

K.A. Luijks, N.L. Vandenbussche, D. Pevernagie, S. Overeem, S. Pillen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


STUDY OBJECTIVES: This retrospective study evaluated the feasibility of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy in adults with intellectual disabilities (ID).

METHODS: CPAP therapy of 24 obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSA) patients with ID were compared to age- and sex-matched adults with normal cognitive functioning. All ID patients received an intensive in-hospital training protocol to stimulate adherence. Good adherence was defined as a use of >70% of the nights and >4 h/night. Influencing factors were assessed.

RESULTS: Baseline apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) was significantly higher in ID patients compared to controls (median 34/h (range 6-101) versus 17/h (range 5-50), p = 0.013). The required average duration of in-hospital training was four nights (range 1-8 days). At six weeks, 60% of the ID patients showed good adherence and 65% at six months, compared to 71% and 50% respectively in the control group. Mean CPAP use per night was equal in both groups both at six weeks (5 h in both groups) and six months (ID 6:30 h vs control 5 h (p = 0.18)). CPAP adherence correlated with baseline AHI in the control patients, but not in ID patients. There was no correlation between CPAP adherence and the level of ID or the degree of support at home.

CONCLUSIONS: Using an intensive training protocol it is very well feasible to apply CPAP therapy in OSA patients with any degree of ID. CPAP adherence in ID patients was comparable to the control patients in this study as well as to previously published adherence numbers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-239
Number of pages6
JournalSleep Medicine
Issue numberJune 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • Continuous positive airway pressure
  • Down syndrome
  • Mental retardation
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Treatment


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