Title. Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome - patients' perceptions of their sleep and its effects on their life situation Aim. This paper reports a descriptive study of how untreated patients with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome perceived their sleep situation and how the syndrome affected their life situation. Background. Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome is a prevalent problem independently associated with an increased risk for hypertension, cardiovascular disease, chronic heart failure and mortality. Increased consumption of healthcare resources can often be seen among patients over a long period of time since many have been undiagnosed and untreated. Methods. A phenomenographic approach was employed. Data were collected by interviews during 2005 with 20 purposively selected participants with untreated obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome. Findings. Participants described loud snoring, frequent awakenings, dyspnoea, frustration over nocturia, fear of dying during sleep and partners' anxiety about the apnoea, as being night-time effects of obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome. They described dry and sore throats, tiredness and daytime sleepiness, shame about falling asleep and snoring, thoughts about complications and depressed mood as daytime effects. Needs, such as increased alertness, improved ability to concentrate, improved relationship, adequate information as well as effective treatment, were described. Participants tried self-care strategies such as information-seeking about sleep disturbances and treatment, adapted sleeping routines, change of bedroom arrangements, adapted daily schedules, hyperactivity and avoidance of difficult situations. Conclusion. The perceived effects and needs, as well as tried self-care actions by the patients with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome in this study, could be used to identify and evaluate concerns of other patients with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome waiting for treatment. © 2007 The Authors.
2007. Vol. 57, no 3, 318-327 p.