A survey of positive airway pressure therapy preparedness and outcomes following Hurricane Irma in patients with obstructive sleep apnea

Aleksandra Kwasnik, Pamela Barletta, Alexandre R. Abreu, Catalina Castillo, Yoel Brito, Alejandro D. Chediak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Objectives: Clinical benefit from positive pressure therapy is dependent on treatment adherence. Extreme weather events, such as floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes, can contribute to nonadherence by electricity loss and mandatory evacuation. We aimed to evaluate the concerns and behaviors of regular positive airway pressure users surrounding the extreme weather event Hurricane Irma. Methods: A questionnaire on positive pressure concerns surrounding Hurricane Irma was completed by 117 patients with pre-hurricane objectively confirmed treatment adherence as defined by Medicare. Responses were tabulated to identify concerns and behavior in preparation for and after Hurricane Irma. Cloud-based monitoring, available on 50 (43%) cases, was used to determine the effect of self-reported electricity loss on treatment adherence before and after the storm. Quantitative use data pre- and post-Hurricane Irma was compared by t test with P <.05 considered statistically significant. Results: Post-hurricane 78 (67%) patients were unable to use treatment with mean duration of 4.3 days. Of these, snoring, choking, and sleepiness were reported in 64%, 19%, and 42%, respectively. Loss of electricity was identified as the cause of missed treatment in 71 patients. In those with cloud monitoring, mean 14-day pre- and post-hurricane use differed by 8 minutes (P =.056). Cloud-monitored cases with loss of electricity had a decline in mean use of 33 minutes for the first 7 days post-hurricane. There was a trend towards increased use post-hurricane in those that retained electricity. Many patients expressed dissatisfaction with the availability of preparedness guidelines. Conclusions: Although common, loss of electricity was not the sole disruptor of positive pressure use after extreme weather events. Regular users of positive airway pressure experience both disruption in patterns of use and concerns regarding preparedness for extreme weather events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1539-1544
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 15 2020


  • Extreme weather events
  • Hurricane
  • Nonadherence
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Positive airway pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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