Background: Little is known about the treatment burden experienced by patients with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) who use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. Participants: 18 patients (33.3% males, mean age 59.7±11.8 years) with OSA who use CPAP therapy were interviewed.
Methods: Patients treated with CPAP for OSA at a tertiary hospital outpatient clinic in Sydney, Australia, were invited to participate in an interview in person or via phone. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore the treatment burden associated with using CPAP. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analysed using NVivo 12 qualitative analysis software.
Results: Four categories of OSA-specific treatment burden were identified: healthcare tasks, consequences of healthcare tasks, exacerbating and alleviating factors of treatment burden. Participants reported a significant burden associated with using CPAP, independently of how frequently they used their device. Common sources of their treatment burden included attending healthcare appointments, the financial cost of treatment, lifestyle changes, treatment- related side effects and general discomfort.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated that there is a significant treatment burden associated with the use of CPAP, and that treatment non-adherence is not the only consequence of treatment burden. Other consequences include relationship burden, stigma and financial burden. It is important for physicians to identify other negative impacts of treatment burden in order to optimise the patient experience.