Obstructive sleep apnea is a highly prevalent disorder often treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAP transmits high pressures through the Eustachian tube, and has significant implications for patients undergoing surgery of the middle ear, inner ear, and lateral skull base. In such patients, nothing is known regarding the likelihood of surgical complications with CPAP use, or medical complications with its cessation. No consensus or guidelines exist for postoperative management of this vitally important but potentially hazardous therapy.
To gain an understanding of the current state of practice with regards to postoperative CPAP management in patients undergoing middle ear, stapes, cochlear implant, and lateral skull base surgeries.
An electronic survey was sent to all members of the American Neurotology Society via email.
The survey was completed by 54 neurotologists. Duration of postoperative CPAP limitation had similar distribution for surgery of the middle ear, stapes, and skull base: fewer surgeons recommend immediate use, with more advising ≤1 week and ≥2 week abstinence. For cochlear implantation, immediate use is most commonly advocated. The rationale for restricting postoperative CPAP use varied by surgery type. Subgroup analysis showed no variations by region; however, surgeons with >15 years of experience tend to advocate for earlier return to CPAP than those with less experience.
Current neurotology practice varies widely concerning CPAP management after otologic and neurotologic surgeries, both with regard to duration of CPAP abstinence and in rationale for its limitation.