Background Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep-disordered breathing, and the standard treatment is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Emerging treatments for OSA, including electrical hypoglossal nerve stimulation (HNS) and non-invasive electrical stimulation (nES), are currently being developed. To involve patients in the development of research projects, we evaluated patients’ preference for different treatments of OSA using a short survey.
Patients and methods We recorded patients’ age, gender, body-mass-index (BMI), Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire (FOSQ10), severity of OSA, and current treatment. We showed pictures of existing (CPAP, mandibular advancement device (MAD)) and emerging treatments (HNS and nES). We then asked 1) whether they were interested in further information about HNS/nES, 2) if they would be willing to try HNS/nES, and 3) if they were to choose only one of the four listed treatments, which one would they prefer to use every night.
Results 162 patients completed the survey (81 males, mean age 52 (12) years, BMI 34 (7.3) kg/m2, ESS 10.2 (6.0) points, FOSQ10 28.5 (8.1) points). The majority of the respondents (89.5%) had been diagnosed with OSA, with 95.4% of those being treated with CPAP. 91.3% of the respondents were interested in more information and were willing to try HNS/nES. Most respondents preferred the potential use of nES (56.7%), while 21.7% chose HNS, 17.8% CPAP, and 3.8% the MAD. There were no differences in the characteristics of the patients who preferred nES compared to those who preferred other treatments; however, a regression analysis showed that a low ESS score was a predictor of patients choosing nES (p < 0.05).
Conclusion Although the CPAP is the established treatment for OSA, most patients would prefer alternatives for long-term treatment. The majority of the respondents were interested in emerging technologies, with less sleepy patients more likely to choose less invasive treatment options.