A 36 year old female patient, shall be called 'Lucy', from a leading UK Sleep Respiratory Department reported early in 2012 with mild Obstructive Sleep Apnoea and excessive daytime sleepiness, with Lucy's partner sometimes being disturbed by the noise of her snoring. OSA was having an influence on their relationship as the above symptoms were influencing the quality of time they spent together.
Lucy was offered a trial of CPAP, and was issued a small Nasal mask initially.
After 6 weeks of using CPAP, Lucy returned to clinic for review. She was extremely tearful and distressed at the thought of having to use CPAP long-term. She was struggling with her nasal mask as she found it cumbersome and disturbing to sleep. She had experienced some nights where she had slept well and felt clear benefits from her CPAP usage, however these were few and far between and she was unable to use CPAP for more than a couple of days in a row. Her mask was changed to a Swift FX at this point to promote her comfort and Lucy was given some tips on how to increase her tolerance of CPAP usage. A humidifier was then added to her system to decrease the likelihood of any nasal irritation that could occur from using nasal pillows.
Lucy and her partner returned to clinic two weeks later, after reporting continuing problems. She had noticed an improvement with using nasal pillows; however, they had not solved her problems completely. She felt that the small and medium nasal cushions were ill fitting and she was starting to dread going to bed due to the whole upheaval of applying the CPAP. Lucy had taken to hiding her CPAP equipment under the bed as she was getting upset just seeing it. She felt unattractive and less feminine despite having a very supportive partner. She had been trying to practice with CPAP, but this was distressing her further and she was very low in mood. It was clear that she had reached a mental block to treatment and we considered using a Mandibular Advancement Device as an alternative.
After trying XS nasal cushions for the Swift FX and an unsuccessful trial of a MAD, Lucy was introduced to The Swift FX Bella. Immediately the straps in the traditional 'For Her' range were a better fit. When given the Bella straps for her Swift FX, Lucy was so impressed, she thought that the small compact design was far more acceptable to her and loved the pink straps, to make her feel more feminine again. Lucy was given a S9 Escape CPAP which she felt was far less 'ugly' and box like than her previous machine. Lucy spent some time looking at the 'Skins' available for the S9 and ordered one. At the end of her consultation, Lucy was visibly moved and was crying with joy, it seemed a huge breakthrough after all her struggles with therapy. Lucy's compliance is now in excess of 4 hours per night, a vast difference to not using her CPAP at all.
The Respiratory Department felt that these changes, however small they may seem to others, will have a positive impact on Lucy's potential for using CPAP and being able to comply with treatment in the future. She clearly feels benefits of treatment when she's able to use it and it seems her chances of being able to do so have vastly improved.