Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) over several years did not lead to clinically concerning levels of weight gain among patients with obstructive sleep apnea and comorbid cardiovascular disease enrolled in a large international trial, findings from a large, multicenter trial show.
No differences in weight, body mass index (BMI), or other body measurements were found when comparing CPAP and control groups in a post hoc analysis of the Sleep Apnea Cardiovascular Endpoints () trial, which included 2,483 adults enrolled at 89 centers in seven countries.
In a subanalysis, there was a small but statistically significant weight gain of less than 400 g in men who used CPAP at least 4 hours per night as compared to matched controls. However, there were no differences in BMI or neck and waist circumferences for these men, and no such changes were observed in women, according to the investigators, led by, of Guangdong (China) General Hospital and , of the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.
“Such a small change in weight, even with good adherence over several years, is highly unlikely to have any serious clinical ramifications,” wrote the investigators of the study published in.
“Taken together, these results indicate that long-term CPAP treatment is unlikely to exacerbate the problems of overweight and obesity that are common among patients with OSA,” they added.
In a previousof randomized trials, investigators concluded that CPAP promoted significant increases in BMI and weight. However, the median study duration was only 3 months.
In contrast, the analysis of the SAVE trial included adults who had regular body measurements over a mean follow-up of nearly 4 years.
That long-term follow-up provided an “ideal opportunity” to assess whether CPAP treatment promotes weight gain in OSA patients over the course of several years, the authors of the SAVE trial analysis wrote.
For men in the SAVE trial, the difference in weight change for the CPAP group vs. the control group was just 0.07 kg (95% confidence interval, –0.40 to 0.54; P = .773) while in women, the difference for CPAP vs. controls was –0.14 kg (95% CI, –0.37 to 0.09; P = .233), the investigators reported.
Weight gain was significantly higher among men with good CPAP adherence, defined as use for at least 4 hours per night, investigators said, noting a mean difference of 0.38 kg (95% CI, 0.04-0.73; P = .031), though no other differences were found in body measurements for men, and no such associations were found in women with good CPAP adherence.
It’s not exactly clear why this SAVE analysis would find no evidence of CPAP promoting weight gain over the long term, in contrast to the earlier meta-analysis of short-term studies finding a significant risk of weight gain.
However, it is possible that differences in study populations such as ethnicity, age, or comorbidities contributed to the differences, said investigators.
For example, results of regression analysis in the present study showed that, compared with recruitment in Australia, recruitment in China and India was significantly linked to weight loss, while recruitment in New Zealand was linked to weight gain.
Dr. Ou had no disclosures related to the study, while Dr. McEvoy reported disclosures related to Philips Respironics, ResMed, Fisher & Paykel, Air Liquide, and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.
SOURCE: Ou Q et al. .