Background: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may worsen postoperatively. The objective of this randomized open-label trial is to determine whether perioperative auto-titrated continuous positive airway pressure (APAP) treatment decreases postoperative apnea hypopnea index (AHI) and improves oxygenation in patients with moderate and severe OSA.
Methods: The consented patients with AHI of more than 15 events/h on preoperative polysomnography were randomized into the APAP or control group (receiving routine care). The APAP patients received APAP for 2 or 3 preoperative, and 5 postoperative nights. All patients were monitored with oximetry for 7 to 8 nights (N) and underwent polysomnography on postoperative N3. The primary outcome was AHI on the postoperative N3.
Results: One hundred seventy-seven OSA patients undergoing orthopedic and other surgeries were enrolled (APAP: 87 and control: 90). There was no difference between the two groups in baseline data. One hundred six patients (APAP: 40 and control: 66) did polysomnography on postoperative N3, and 100 patients (APAP: 39 and control: 61) completed the study. The compliance rate of APAP was 45%. The APAP usage was 2.4–4.6 h/night. In the APAP group, AHI decreased from preoperative baseline: 30.1 (22.1, 42.5) events/h (median [25th, 75th percentile]) to 3.0 (1.0, 12.5) events/h on postoperative N3 (P < 0.001), whereas, in the control group, AHI increased from 30.4 (23.2, 41.9) events/h to 31.9 (13.5, 50.2) events/h, P = 0.302. No significant change occurred in the central apnea index.
Conclusions: The trial showed the feasibility of perioperative APAP for OSA patients. Perioperative APAP treatment significantly reduced postoperative AHI and improved oxygen saturation in the patients with moderate and severe OSA.