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Am J Med Sci. 2013 Aug;346(2):104-7. doi: 10.1097/MAJ.0b013e31826d6421.

Psychiatric disorder does not preclude adequate continuous positive airway pressure titration.

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  • 1Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine, Memphis, TN 38163, USA.


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a highly prevalent disorder associated with significant morbidity and multiple complications. A large proportion of patients with OSA also have a coexisting primary psychiatric disorder. The effect of psychiatric disorders on the ability to tolerate continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) titration is not known. In this study, whether the presence of psychiatric disorders precludes the patients' ability to tolerate CPAP titration for OSA was investigated. A retrospective chart review on a sample of 284 patients who underwent sleep studies in a single-center, university-based Veterans Affairs hospital was performed. A total of 143 patients with OSA who underwent titration of CPAP therapy were identified. The prevalence of psychiatric disorders between patients who tolerated titration and those who did not tolerate it was compared using the χ² test. The percentages of patients with psychiatric disorders who tolerated and did not tolerate CPAP were 33.6% and 33.3%, respectively. No statistically significant difference between the 2 groups (χ² = 0.051 with 1 degree of freedom; P = 0.82) was found. The predominantly male patient population, exclusion of mild OSA, lack of data about the level of control of the psychiatric symptoms and the sleep technicians not being blinded to the patients' psychiatric diagnoses were some of the limitations of this study. No significant difference existed in the prevalence of psychiatric disorders between patients intolerant to CPAP titration and those who tolerated CPAP for OSA.

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