The use of a nasal continuous positive airway pressure (nCPAP) machine for more than 2 years may cause craniofacial changes in adults with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Researchers from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, analyzed baseline and follow-up radiographs from 46 Japanese patients with OSA who had used nCPAP for a minimum of 2 years. Changes in craniofacial structures were assessed.
nCPAP use was associated with change in the craniofacial form by reducing maxillary and mandibular prominence and/or by altering the relationship between the two dental arches. There were no significant correlations between mean age, BMI, apnea-hypopnea index, or the average duration of nCPAP use (35.0±6.7 months) and the craniofacial changes. No patients reported any permanent craniofacial changes.
Researchers conclude that the side effects of nCPAP use warrant more detailed studies over longer time periods, considering that nCPAP is often prescribed for long-term use.
The article was published in the October issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.