Depression scores improve with continuous positive airway pressure in specialized sleep clinics: real-world data

Anne Walker, Matthew T. Naughton, Lachlan Shaw, Andrew T. Jeklin, Catherine Martin, Eli Dabscheck

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Study Objectives: To assess changes in Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) scores after continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Methods: Consecutive patients attending the Alfred Health sleep clinic, diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, and prescribed CPAP were recruited. The primary outcome was a change in the HADS depression (HADS-D) and anxiety (HADS-A) subscales from the time of diagnosis to follow-up. Secondary analysis compared high (> 4 hours) and low (< 4 hours) CPAP adherence groups and change in depression cases, defined by HADS-D ≥ 8, and anxiety cases, defined by HADS-A ≥ 11. Results:We included 108 participants in the final analysis. Adherence groupswerewellmatched in baselinemood, sleepiness, and apnea variables. Overall age (mean ± standard deviation) was 56.1 ± 12.8 years, and there was a median (interquartile ratio) apnea-hypopnea-index of 42.7 (27.5-58.1) ormedian (interquartile ratio) oxygen-desaturation-index of 43.0 (26.0-74.0). The median duration of CPAP therapy was 1.3 years. The HADS-D decreased after CPAP by -1.4 (adjusted 95% confidence interval, -2.1 to -0.6; P = .001). Patients with high-CPAP adherence (n = 84) had a tendency towards a greater reduction in HADS-D (-1.5) compared with those with low-CPAP adherence (n = 24; -0.3; adjusted P =.19). Depression cases (HADS-D ≥ 8) decreased by 13.1% in the high-CPAP-adherence group (P =.03) and increased by 4.1%in the low-CPAP-adherence group (P =.71). The HADS-A decreased after CPAP by -1.8 (adjusted 95%confidence interval, -1.8 to -0.4; P = .004). There was no significant difference between adherence groups or anxiety cases (HADS-A > 11). Conclusions: Specialized obstructive sleep apnea treatment with CPAP reduces depression scores, with a trend toward greater reduction in those with high CPAP adherence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1201-1209
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Anxiety
  • Continuous positive airway pressure
  • Depression
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

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