Many clinicians anticipated that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients would struggle to continue their care during the public health crisis.
Contrary to those initial concerns, some physicians, as well as patient surveys in multiple countries, have shown that patients have diligently continued to use their positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy. With a more acute concern for respiratory health, many people have become more interested in using PAP devices or have started therapy for the first time, says board-certified sleep medicine specialist Michael Thorpy, MD, director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
“We are seeing a lot of patients who are concerned about COVID, who are contacting us because they know that they have sleep apnea and they want to get on CPAP,” says Thorpy, a professor of clinical neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
A large online survey of OSA patients in France found the pandemic has had limited impact on CPAP use. Primarily just those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 stopped CPAP use, sometimes without a physician’s advice, and were more likely to move to a separate bedroom, according to the paper published in ERJ Open Research.