To determine whether the use of a gel pillow with side cutouts designed to accommodate a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask and reduce head temperature improves the efficacy of and adherence to auto-CPAP therapy.
Twenty-three consecutive CPAP-naïve patients with obstructive sleep apnea were enrolled in the study. Patients were given an auto-CPAP machine with an appropriate CPAP mask and were instructed to use CPAP for 15 nights. They were instructed to sleep with their own pillow (the control pillow) from nights 1 to 5 and with either a foam pillow or a gel pillow, both of which had side cutouts, for 5 consecutive nights each, in random order. After night 15, auto-CPAP machine data were downloaded and patients rated their satisfaction with each pillow on a visual analog scale.
Twenty-two patients completed the protocol. The pressures administered, residual apnea-hypopnea index, air leaks, and mean duration of CPAP use did not differ among the periods during which each pillow was used. Patients were significantly more satisfied with the gel pillow than with the control pillow and the foam pillow (p = 0.022 and p = 0.004, respectively), their level of satisfaction with the gel pillow correlating significantly with excessive daytime sleepiness (r2 = 0.19; p = 0.0443).
Among obstructive sleep apnea patients treated with nasal CPAP, the use of a gel pillow with side cutouts appears to have no impact on treatment effectiveness. Nevertheless, such patients seem to prefer a gel pillow over other types of pillows.
Sleep; Continuous positive airway pressure; Sleep apnea, obstructive; Masks