How will I be able to sleep if I cannot use my CPAP machine?

This question was asked in Glenwood, Minnesota on 10/05/2012.
I have obstructive sleep apnea I am having surgery for otosclerosis. I will not be able to use my CPAP machine for a couple of weeks post surgery. How am I suppose to sleep?

Doctors Answers (2)

Richard J. Schumann Jr., MD
Answered on: 10/9/2012

If you can't use the mask and you have severe sleep disordered breathing you could temporarily use oxygen through a nasal cannula or possible an over the counter oral appliance at night until you resume your therapy. They should make arrangement for this in the PACU after surgery and your surgeon should know about your comorbid diagnosis of OSA prior to getting surgery at the pre-op appointment.

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 10/8/2012

Following surgery for procedures such as otosclerosis the pressure from a CPAP machine may have adverse effects. It is great that you are obviously well adapted to CPAP therapy but you should review your baseline sleep study to see how severe your apnea was and how low your oxygen dropped before CPAP. If you qualify, you should use oxygen at night until you can return to CPAP therapy. Also, have your doctor, or the physician who interpreted your sleep study, tell you if your apnea was less when you did not sleep on your back. If that is an issue then make certain you avoid sleeping on your back. There are roll bars and snore ball shirts available. Also, avoid sedatives, especially alcohol, at bedtime. Even sleeping in a recliner may help.