Background: Heated humidifiers (HH) enable effective treatment of upper airway dryness during nasal continuous positive airway pressure (nCPAP) therapy for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), but the role of prophylactic use of HH during the initiation of nCPAP treatment has not been studied so far. Objectives: The aim of the present study was to investigate whether prophylactic HH during the initiation of CPAP would result in improved initial patient comfort and acceptance. Methods: In 44 consecutive, previously untreated OSA patients with no history of upper airway dryness, CPAP titration with and without HH was performed on two consecutive nights in a randomised order. The patients were interviewed after each treatment night in order to establish the comfort of the treatment, and, after the second treatment, they were asked which of the two nights they considered more pleasant, and which treatment they would prefer for long-term use. Results: Following CPAP titration with HH, 32 patients (73%) claimed to have had a better night’s sleep than usual (i.e. without CPAP treatment) compared with 33 patients (75%) saying the same following CPAP treatment without HH. For 21 patients (47.7%) treatment with HH was more pleasant, 23 (52.3%) saw no difference or said that treatment without HH was more pleasant. Nineteen patients (43.2%) gave preference to treatment with HH for long-term use, while 25 patients (56.8%) had no preference or said they would prefer treatment without HH. Conclusions: The use of HH during the initiation phase of CPAP treatment was associated neither with an initial improvement in comfort nor with greater initial treatment acceptance.

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