- Neuropsychological functioning after CPAP treatment in obstructive sleep apnea: a meta-analysis
- Sleep Medicine Reviews
- Volume | Issue number
- 17 | 5
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
The generally held clinical view is that treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) improves cognition in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). However, the cognitive domains in which recovery is found differ between studies. A meta-analysis was conducted to quantify the effect of CPAP treatment in OSA on neuropsychological functioning. A literature search of studies published from January 1990 to July 2012 was performed. The inclusion criteria were: randomized controlled trial, diagnosis of OSA by poly(somno)graphy, apnea/hypopnea index, duration and compliance of CPAP treatment reported, use of one or more standardized neuropsychological tests.
Mean weighted effect sizes of CPAP treatment for seven cognitive domains were calculated, including processing speed, attention, vigilance, working memory, memory, verbal fluency and visuoconstruction. Thirteen studies encompassing 554 OSA patients were included. A small, significant effect on attention was observed in favor of CPAP (d = 0.19). For the other cognitive domains the effect sizes did not reach significance. Improvement on measures of sleepiness was modest (d = 0.30-0.53) and comparable to prior research. In conclusion, this meta-analysis indicates that the effect of CPAP on cognition is small and limited to attention. Contrary to the general assumption, only slight improvement of neuropsychological functioning after CPAP treatment can be expected.
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