Video jolts sleep apnea patients into using their CPAP machines

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Apnea videos boost  CPAP use
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Apnea videos boost CPAP use. Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on July 26, 2017.

DENVER, Colorado (WPVI) -- Almost half of the people with sleep apnea who are given a C-PAP device don't use it.

Doctors at National Jewish Health in Denver are changing that, simply by showing those patients video of their own struggle to breathe.

The video was taken in the hospital's sleep lab.

John Brugger didn't like his CPAP mask at first.

It was too bulky and tight to let him get a good night's sleep.

However, when he saw the video of himself without the mask, gasping for air, it changed everything.

"Made me cry watching it. Still vivid in my mind seeing what my body was going through at night," said Brugger.

"We really create a sort of personal sense of urgency in this patient in order to change their behavior," says Mark Aloia, Ph.D. a sleep specialist at National Jewish Health.

Dr. Aloia says watching videos of OTHER sleep apnea patients didn't work as well, since most people don't think THEIR problem is that bad.

In a study, the videos got more patients using their C-PAP while they sleep, and for longer periods - at least 2 hours longer.

For more information on the study, as well as sleep apnea, click here.