Patients who use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) often believe that it makes them less sexually attractive, according to researchers at Rosalind Franklin University. A new study abstract released in an online supplement of the journal CHEST, to be presented at CHEST 2014, the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians in Austin, Texas, shows that they do not need to worry.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is common in sleep apnea patients, but studies have shown that the use of CPAP improves ED. However, patients using CPAP may believe that the use of CPAP will have a negative influence on sexual quality, which can in turn make them less likely to use CPAP. Researchers conducted a survey to determine if sexual quality of life (SQOL) differs between CPAP-compliant and noncompliant patients. Patients were deemed to be compliant if they used CPAP more than 4 hours per night for 70% of days.
In this study, 52 patients with OSA on CPAP answered 10 questions pertaining to physical and emotional aspects of lovemaking. Of the 52 patients, 27 were compliant with CPAP, 25 were not. Both groups were similar in age, body mass index, ED, use of medication to treat erectile dysfunction, and presence of depression. Results showed that, when adjusting for all confounding variables, CPAP compliance does not predict sexual quality of life.
"This study found that SQOL scores were similar between the compliant vs noncompliant group," said Mark J. Rosen, MD, Master FCCP, Medical Director, American College of Chest Physicians. "This study suggests that CPAP compliance does not impair sexual quality of life in patients with sleep apnea."