Complex Sleep Apnea

What Is Complex Sleep Apnea?

Complex sleep apnea (CompSA) is a type of apnea that is associated with both obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and central sleep apnea (CSA). CompSA is also known as mixed sleep apnea.

CompSA is characterised by the prevalence of CSA even after treatment of OSA has been performed with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) therapy. There needs to be an occurrence of more than 5 central apneas per hour for it to be classified as CompSA. [1]


Treating CompSA can be quite challenging task, as the proper methods and therapies are still being defined. [1]

Current treatment options for CompSA include: [1]

  • CPAP therapy
  • BiPAP therapy
  • Adaptive servoventilators (ASV)

CPAP is still considered as one the best treatment options for CompSA.

If these treatment methods are unable to help then there are several other alternatives that may be considered: [1]

  • Medication (i.e. diamox, theophylline)
  • CO2 devices
  • Sleep Aids


An overnight sleep study can be performed in order to diagnose the presence of CompSA.


  1. Khan, M.T. and Franco, R.A., 2014. Complex sleep apnea syndrome. Sleep disorders2014.
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