Several demographic and clinical factors affect adherence to PAP (positive airway pressure) therapy, including age, gender and disease severity, according to research presented by ResMed at ATS 2019.

The study found significant differences in one-year adherence between people of different ages and disease severity levels:

  • Men with sleep apnea are 8.5 percentage points more likely to stay adherent on PAP therapy than women.
  • People over age 60 were 7.3 percentage points more adherent than the entire study cohort (77.7% vs. 70.4%).
  • People with self-reported severe sleep apnea were 78% adherent at the one-year mark, compared to 70.5% of those with self-reported moderate sleep apnea, and 65.2% of those with mild sleep apnea.

“Sleep specialists, pulmonologists, and primary care physicians should heed these results and ensure that their younger, female, and more mildly diagnosed patients have the proper supports to stay on therapy,” said Adam Benjafield, a study coauthor and ResMed’s vice president of Medical Affairs. “Regardless of why these gaps exist, we know they do, signaling the need to keep in close contact with patients in these populations.”

medXcloud, a ResMed-assembled group of healthcare key opinion leaders, conducted the study, which examined de-identified data of 1,063,870 US PAP users from ResMed’s remote monitoring network, AirView. PAP users must have also been registered for the myAir patient engagement tool.

“Overall, we see encouragingly high long-term adherence rates across all subgroups, compared to most other chronic medical therapies,” said Benjafield. “Sleep apnea is a chronic disease without a cure; therefore, staying adherent on PAP through the years is critical to preventing apneas, maintaining your good sleep and overall health.”