Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) has long been considered the gold standard treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, but it appears that treatment with an oral appliance is also effective at reducing cardiovascular disease comorbidity—in some cases, equally effective as CPAP.
The review found that oral appliance therapy resulted in a lower apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and subsequently improved endothelial function. Oral appliance therapy was also beneficial in improving left ventricle function.
Perhaps most notably was the comparison study in which oral appliance therapy was demonstrated to be just as effective at reducing blood pressure as CPAP.
Sleep apnea is a condition that is often accompanied with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Despite clear benefits and an overall improvement in sleep, nearly half of CPAP patients either abandon therapy or never begin. With more and more research being done showing similar benefits and increased compliance with oral appliance therapy, more patients may be recognized as candidates for the CPAP alternative.