Correspondence to: Gunther H. Wiest, MD, Medical Department I, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Krankenhausstrasse 12, 91054 Erlangen, Germany; e:mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
To the Editor:
The study by Massie et al1 has, for the first time,
presented scientific proof that the prophylactic application of a
humidifier as an accessory in continuous positive airway pressure
(CPAP) therapy can improve not only patient compliance and comfort
during treatment, but also the results of the treatment. We consider
the study to be of particular importance because it shows that we now
have to rethink the current clinical practice of using humidifiers as
accessories only when patients undergoing CPAP treatment encounter such
problems as, for example, drying out of the upper airways.
In their “Discussion” section, the authors maintain that their
study is the first to show the effect of humidification on side effects
and compliance in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients using CPAP
(page 408, lines 34–36). However, our own working group had already
published a prospective study on OSA patients experiencing side effects
of CPAP treatment (January 1999),2 in whom the use of a
heated humidifier (incidentally, the same make as in the study of
Massie et al) both lowered the rate of side effects and improved
patient compliance and comfort under treatment. In addition, we were
also able to show that the use of a heated humidifier can reduce the
number of patients who abandon CPAP treatment because of the
above-mentioned side effects.2
The results published by Massie et al are in good agreement with our
own data, and taken together, our findings now demonstrate the clinical
efficacy of heated humidifiers used as accessories in CPAP treatment in
terms of improving compliance and treatment comfort as well as the
results of treatment.
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