Objective: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has been shown to affect the quality of life (QOL) in patients, and QOL improves after treatment with nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). However, the effects on the bed partner of the patient with OSA have received little attention. We studied QOL in patients with OSA and their bed partners, and the effect of CPAP therapy on QOL.
Design: Fifty-four patients and their bed partners who had been seen for evaluation of OSA, had undergone polysomnography, and subsequently had received treatment with CPAP. Patients and bed partners completed the Epworth sleepiness scale (ESS) and QOL questionnaires before and after the patients’ therapy.
Setting: Sleep disorders center in an academic medical center.
Participants: Patients with documented OSA and regular bed partners.
Interventions: Both individuals completed the 36-item short-form health survey (SF-36), the ESS, and the Calgary sleep apnea quality of life index (SAQLI). At about 6 weeks after CPAP therapy, patients and their bed partners completed the same set of questionnaires again.
Results: Of the 54 subjects who completed the study, the mean (± SD) apnea-hypopnea index was 48.4 ± 33.3. For the subjects, the mean ESS decreased from 12.9 ± 4.4 to 7.3 ± 4.0 (p < 0.001) after treatment with CPAP. For the bed partners, the mean ESS decreased from 7.4 ± 6.1 to 5.8 ± 4.7 (p = 0.02). The mean scores on the SAQLI were 4.1 ± 1.0 for the subjects and 4.5 ± 1.3 for the bed partners. Following CPAP therapy, the SAQLI increased in the subjects to 4.9 ± 1.2 (p < 0.001), and in the bed partners to 5.1 ± 0.9 (p = 0.002). The SF-36 showed positive changes in both the subjects and the bed partners. Significant improvements were observed in the subjects in role-physical, vitality, social functioning, role-emotional, and mental health domains. In the bed partners, significant changes in the SF-36 were observed in role-physical, vitality, social functioning, and mental health domains.
Conclusion: OSA results in impaired QOL in both the patients and their bed partners. Treatment with CPAP improves QOL, as measured by the SF-36 and the SAQLI.