Using CPAP therapy as directed can significantly increase sleep apnea patients’ chances of living longer, according to a late-breaking abstract presented at the virtual European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress 2021 and supported by ResMed.

The ALASKA study, “CPAP Termination and All-Cause Mortality: a French Nationwide Database Analysis,” concluded people with obstructive sleep apnea who continued PAP (positive airway pressure) therapy were 39% more likely to survive than OSA patients who didn’t. Researchers observed over 176,000 people in France with sleep apnea over a three-year period. Study authors say the survival rate gap remained significant when accounting for patients’ ages, overall health, other pre-existing conditions, and causes of death.

“Treating sleep apnea with PAP therapy may help you live longer; that’s the key takeaway here for people with sleep apnea and their doctors,” says Adam Benjafield, study co-author and ResMed vice president of medical affairs, in a release. “This finding underscores how critical it is to identify the hundreds of millions of people worldwide whose sleep apnea is undiagnosed and untreated.”

The ALASKA study was conducted in partnership with Jean-Louis Pépin; universities of Grenoble, San Diego, and Sydney; Sêmeia; and other researchers from ResMed’s industry-academia collaboration medXcloud.