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Less costly, more accessible and as effective: Simplified treatment for sleep apnea
Date:3/5/2009

Diagnosing and treating obstructive sleep apnea may soon become much less expensive and arduous, thanks to new research showing that a simplified program using experienced nurses, home ambulatory diagnosis and auto-titrating continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines to titrate CPAP pressures is not inferior to the traditional model which relies on specialist physicians and sleep studies.

The randomized, multi-center study directly compared the results of two OSA diagnosis and treatment protocols, "simplified" and traditional, as well as there respective costs.

The results were published in the second issue for March of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"The main finding of the study was that the simplified model of care was not inferior to the usual physician-led, hospital-based model," said Nick A. Antic, Ph.D., at the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health in South Australia.

Obstructive sleep apnea, which may affect as many as 20 to 30 million adult Americans and a growing number of people worldwide, is independently linked to cardiovascular problems, hypertension and other co-morbidities, as well as an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents. As obesity continues to be a growing problem in Western and developing countries, the prevalence of OSA is almost certainly rising with it.

The serious complications of OSA, together with its increasing prevalence, make its diagnosis a pressing public health issue. However, traditional diagnosis and treatment of OSA can be expensive and time-consuming. Diagnosis and treatment are also limited by the availability and accessibility of the sleep centers and specialist doctors required. "In Western countries, the waiting lists for sleep medicine service are often very long. In developing countries, there may be no sleep medicine services at all in many areas," said Dr. Antic.

To determine whethe
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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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