Primary care can effectively manage obstructive sleep apnea

April 30, 2018

(HealthDay)—Primary care management of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is as effective and more cost-effective than in-laboratory diagnosis, according to a study published online April 17 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

M. Ángeles Sánchez-Quiroga, M.D., from Virgen del Puerto Hospital in Madrid, and colleagues randomized 303 sequentially screened patients with an intermediate-to-high probability of OSA to primary care management (a portable monitor with automatic scoring and semi-automatic therapeutic decision-making) or in-laboratory management (polysomnography and specialized therapeutic decision-making). All patients received continuous positive airway pressure treatment or sleep hygiene and dietary treatment alone.

The researchers found that the primary care protocol was noninferior to the in-laboratory protocol based on use of the Epworth sleepiness scale. Furthermore, management was more cost-effective, with a lower cost of €537.8 per patient.

"Primary health care area management may be an alternative to in-laboratory management for patients with an intermediate to high OSA probability," the authors write. "Given the clear economic advantage of outpatient management, this finding could change established clinical practice."

Explore further: Obstructive sleep apnea can be managed successfully in the primary care setting

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