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Neurology Learning NetworkFor Some Sleep Apnea Patients, Noninvasive Electrical Stimulation May Improve Symptoms

Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation Shows Promise as Second-Line Treatment for Sleep Apnea

A recent study published in eClinicalMedicine suggests that home-based transcutaneous electrical stimulation could be a viable alternative for patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who have low adherence to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. The study demonstrated significant improvements in OSA severity and sleepiness over a period of three months.

Key Points:
  • The phase III trial involved 29 patients who were assigned to transcutaneous electrical stimulation and 27 to usual care (CPAP) for a median of 3 months.
  • Participants had an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) between 5 and 35 events per hour and a body mass index between 18.5 and 32.
  • After 3 months, the change in AHI was -11.5 in favor of the intervention group, and -7.0 after adjustment for baseline values.
  • 34.5% of the intervention group showed an improvement in AHI of ≥50%, and 55.2% showed a decrease in the oxygen desaturation index of ≥25%.
Additional Points:
  • The Epworth Sleepiness Scale showed a group difference of -2.6 points in favor of the intervention.
  • Oxygen desaturation index improved by -8.3 points in favor of the intervention.
  • One participant developed mild headaches from the electrical stimulation but no other adverse events were reported.

Sleep Disorders Further Reading

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