Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome: the diagnostic strategy dilemma. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is a major public health hazard affecting 2-4% of the adult population; only 10% of these patients are recognized by healthcare providers. In the last decade the number of referrals for polysomnography increased threefold in Israel, compared to 12-fold worldwide, and is expected to increase even more in the coming years. This constant demand for PSG studies is beyond the current capacity of sleep laboratories, thus preventing diagnosis for most patients with suspected OSAS. In the current review, we examine problems facing decision-makers on how to treat the increasing flood of patients presenting with symptoms suggestive of sleep-disordered breathing. We evaluate the cost-effectiveness of current technologies for OSA diagnosis, i.e., laboratory versus at-home technologies. We conclude that no current alternative exists to the use of PSG for OSA diagnosis. When at-home technologies are suggested for OSAS diagnosis, data should be provided on factors influencing its cost-effectiveness, e.g., accuracy rates of diagnosis, relative cost of human resources, and case-mix of patients tested. Since PSG remains the gold standard for diagnosis of OSAS, in Israel resources should be allocated to increasing the volume of beds for PSG studies in order to increase access to diagnosis and treatment, which in turn provides better quality of life, saves scarce resources of the healthcare system, prevents unnecessary accidents and increases workers' productivity.

publication date

  • January 1, 2004