A randomized sham-controlled trial on the effect of continuous positive airway pressure treatment on gait control in severe obstructive sleep apnea patients


To determine the effect of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the gold standard treatment for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), on gait control in severe OSAS patients. We conducted a randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, sham-controlled monocentric study in Grenoble Alpes University Hospital, France. Gait parameters were recorded under single and dual-task conditions using a visuo-verbal cognitive task (Stroop test), before and after the 8-week intervention period. Stride-time variability, a marker of gait control, was the primary study endpoint. Changes in the determinants of gait control were the main secondary outcomes. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: (NCT02345694). 24 patients [median (Q1; Q3)]: age: 59.5 (46.3; 66.8) years, 87.5% male, body mass index: 28.2 (24.7; 29.8) kg. m −2 , apnea–hypopnea index: 51.6 (35.0; 61.4) events/h were randomized to be treated by effective CPAP (n = 12) or by sham-CPAP (n = 12). A complete case analysis was performed, using a mixed linear regression model. CPAP elicited no significant improvement in stride-time variability compared to sham-CPAP. No difference was found regarding the determinants of gait control. This study is the first RCT to investigate the effects of CPAP on gait control. Eight weeks of CPAP treatment did not improve gait control in severe non-obese OSAS patients. These results substantiate the complex OSAS-neurocognitive function relationship.

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