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Original article
A randomised controlled trial of CPAP versus non-invasive ventilation for initial treatment of obesity hypoventilation syndrome

Abstract

Background Obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS) is the most common indication for home ventilation, although the optimal therapy remains unclear, particularly for severe disease. We compared Bi-level and continuous positive airways pressure (Bi-level positive airway pressure (PAP); CPAP) for treatment of severe OHS.

Methods We conducted a multicentre, parallel, double-blind trial for initial treatment of OHS, with participants randomised to nocturnal Bi-level PAP or CPAP for 3 months. The primary outcome was frequency of treatment failure (hospital admission, persistent ventilatory failure or non-adherence); secondary outcomes included health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and sleepiness.

Results Sixty participants were randomised; 57 completed follow-up and were included in analysis (mean age 53 years, body mass index 55 kg/m2, PaCO2 60 mm Hg). There was no difference in treatment failure between groups (Bi-level PAP, 14.8% vs CPAP, 13.3%, p=0.87). Treatment adherence and wake PaCO2 were similar after 3 months (5.3 hours/night Bi-level PAP, 5.0 hours/night CPAP, p=0.62; PaCO2 44.2 and 45.9 mm Hg, respectively, p=0.60). Between-group differences in improvement in sleepiness (Epworth Sleepiness Scale 0.3 (95% CI -2.8, 3.4), p=0.86) and HRQoL (Short Form (SF)36-SF6d 0.025 (95% CI -0.039, 0.088), p=0.45) were not significant. Baseline severity of ventilatory failure (PaCO2) was the only significant predictor of persistent ventilatory failure at 3 months (OR 2.3, p=0.03).

Conclusions In newly diagnosed severe OHS, Bi-level PAP and CPAP resulted in similar improvements in ventilatory failure, HRQoL and adherence. Baseline PaCO2 predicted persistent ventilatory failure on treatment. Long-term studies are required to determine whether these treatments have different cost-effectiveness or impact on mortality.

Trial registration number ACTRN12611000874910, results.

  • Non invasive ventilation
  • Sleep apnoea

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