Cochrane Summaries

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Oral appliances for treating sleepiness, quality of life and markers of sleep disruption in people with obstructive sleep apnoea/hypopnoea (OSAH)

Lim J, Lasserson TJ, Fleetham J, Wright JJ
Published Online: 
8 July 2009

OSAH is characterized by recurrent episodes of partial or complete upper airway obstruction during sleep, leading to a variety of symptoms including excessive daytime sleepiness. The current first choice therapy is CPAP that keeps the upper airway patent during sleep. However, this treatment can be difficult for some patients to tolerate and comply with on a long-term basis. OA are now widely used as an alternative to CPAP therapy. They are designed to keep the upper airway open by either advancing the lower jaw forward or by keeping the mouth open during sleep. This review found that OA should not be considered as first choice therapy for OSAH, where symptoms and sleep disruption are severe. There has not been a sufficient amount of research that examines the effects of OA compared with CPAP in terms of symptoms and quality of life. Although CPAP was clearly more effective at reducing the disruption to sleep, some people with OSAH may prefer using them if they are found to be tolerable and more convenient than CPAP. When an active OA was compared with an inactive OA , there were improvements in daytime sleepiness and apnoea/hypopnoea severity. OA may be more effective than corrective upper airway surgery. Further research should consider whether people with more distinctly severe symptoms respond in a similar way to those patients represented in the studies we have included in the review.

This record should be cited as: 
Lim J, Lasserson TJ, Fleetham J, Wright JJ. Oral appliances for obstructive sleep apnoea. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD004435. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004435.pub3
Assessed as up to date: 
13 August 2008