Send to

Choose Destination
Laryngorhinootologie. 1999 Sep;78(9):491-6.

[What are the side-effects of nocturnal continuous positive pressure ventilation (nCPAP) in patients with sleep apnea for the head-neck region?].

[Article in German]

Author information

Universitätsklinikum Ulm, Klinik und Poliklink für HNO-Heilkunde.



Nasal continuous positive airway pressure ventilation therapy is the present gold standard in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Depending on the definitions used, about 60% of the patients tolerate nCPAP therapy. The reason for this limited tolerance is a varying number of side effects. The aim of the present retrospective study was to analyze the incidence and intensity of otorhinolaryngological side effects of nCPAP therapy.


Questionnaires inquiring about the frequency of using nCPAP and objective and subjective complaints were sent to 92 patients who were treated with nCPAP in our department within the last years. Six of 92 patients also used a heated humidifier. A telephone interview was added to complete the questionnaires as correctly as possible.


Eighty questionnaires were sent back completely answered. The mean frequency of using nCPAP (+/- standard deviation) was 6.8 +/- 1.6 hours per night and 6.5 +/- 1.4 nights per week. The mean duration of nCPAP therapy was 28.0 +/- 21.0 months; the mean pressure used was 6.8 +/- 1.2 cm H2O. The following side effects were specified most frequently: disturbance of sleep during the night (71.3%), dry mouth (47.5%), dry nose (46.3%), pressure marks by the mask (41.3%), crusts within the nasal cavity (38.8%), and hearing loss (26.3%). Dryness within the nose and mouth was considered the most irritating side effects.


NCPAP therapy has a number of different side effects in the head and neck. These side effects are seen frequently. Prospective analysis must show whether there are correlations between the intensity and frequency of side effects and the duration of therapy, and whether technical improvements (quality of masks, noise reduction, humidifiers) are able to reduce the frequency of side effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart, New York
Loading ...
Support Center