Telecommunications System in Sleep Apnea

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Department of Veterans Affairs Identifier:
First received: September 30, 2005
Last updated: April 15, 2014
Last verified: April 2014

This study is investigating the effects of a telecommunications system designed to improve patient adherence with prescribed positive airway pressure (CPAP).

Condition Intervention
Sleep Apnea, Obstructive
Device: Telecommunications system

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor)
Official Title: RCT of a Telecommunications System in Sleep Apnea

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Department of Veterans Affairs:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Objective CPAP Use [ Time Frame: 12 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    Mean nightly hours of CPAP use over 12 months

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Daytime Vigilance [ Time Frame: 12 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    A measure of behavioral alertness. Specifically the metric we used was the mean reaction time, the time it took for a subject to respond to a visual stimulus (light displayed on a screen at random intervals) by hitting a button.

Enrollment: 250
Study Start Date: October 2004
Study Completion Date: March 2008
Primary Completion Date: March 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: TLC-CPAP
A telephone-linked communication (TLC) system for promoting adherence to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
Device: Telecommunications system
The telecommunications system is designed to improve patient adherence with prescribed positive airway pressure.
Placebo Comparator: TLC-Control
A TLC system for providing general health education

Detailed Description:


Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is an important chronic disease of adults, affecting an estimated 4% of men and 2% of women in the United States. Nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) has been demonstrated to ameliorate the symptoms and neurobehavioral consequences of OSAS. Unfortunately, patient adherence with prescribed CPAP is low, diminishing the benefits obtained from this expensive therapy. Nurse-administered patient education and monitoring of CPAP use through home visits has been shown to be effective in significantly improving CPAP adherence. Given the logistic complexity of delivering this service and its costs, it is unlikely to be disseminated widely into clinical practice. An alternative, using advanced telecommunications technology to deliver similar adherence improvement services, is proposed for study.


Use of telecommunications systems with other important health-related behaviors such as medication-taking, diet, and exercise have demonstrated significant improvements in therapy adherence.


This research project represents a randomized controlled trial of a Telephone-Linked Communications (TLC) system designed to improve CPAP adherence (TLC-CPAP). The study will enroll adults with OSAS who are being started on nasal CPAP therapy. Subjects will be randomized to TLC-CPAP or an attention placebo control group. The effect of TLC on CPAP use and on disease-specific quality of life (QOL), OSAS-related symptoms, depression, and vigilance over a 12-month interval will be assessed.

The intervention and control groups will be compared to assess differences in potential confounders including age, sex, OSAS severity, CPAP pressure level, comorbid illness, physician specialty status, BMI, socioeconomic status, and marital status. Each of the outcome variables (all of which are continuous variables) will be compared between intervention and control groups using multivariate analyses to adjust for any potential confounders that differ between groups. Multivariate models will include appropriate tests of interactions. All analyses will be performed using an intent-to-treat approach.




This Telephone-Linked Communications (TLC) technology offers an effective, low-cost, and easy-to-use means of providing disease-specific education, monitoring, and counseling to improve adherence with therapy.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Physician diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome plus polysomnography demonstrating greater than 10 apneas plus hypopneas per hour of sleep
  • Age 18-80 years
  • Ability to use a telephone without assistance

Exclusion Criteria:


  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00232544

United States, Massachusetts
VA Boston Health Care System
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02130
Sponsors and Collaborators
Principal Investigator: David William Sparrow, DSc VA Boston Health Care System
  More Information

No publications provided by Department of Veterans Affairs

Additional publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: Department of Veterans Affairs Identifier: NCT00232544     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: IIR 02-230
Study First Received: September 30, 2005
Results First Received: November 4, 2013
Last Updated: April 15, 2014
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by Department of Veterans Affairs:
sleep apnea, obstructive
Quality of Life
Patient Compliance

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Sleep Apnea Syndromes
Sleep Apnea, Obstructive
Nervous System Diseases
Respiration Disorders
Respiratory Tract Diseases
Sleep Disorders
Sleep Disorders, Intrinsic processed this record on March 26, 2015