Management of obstructive sleep apnea in Europe
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Sleep medicine. - Amsterdam
, p. 190-197
University of Antwerp
Objectives In Europe, the services provided for the investigation and management of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) varies from country to country. The aim of this questionnaire-based study was to investigate the current status of diagnostic pathways and therapeutic approaches applied in the treatment of OSA in Europe, qualification requirements of physicians involved in diagnosis and treatment of OSA, and reimbursement of these services. Methods Two questionnaires were sent to 39 physicians in 22 countries in Europe. In order to standardize the responses, the questionnaire was accompanied by an example. Results Sleep centers from 21 countries (38 physicians) participated. A broad consistency among countries with respect to the following was found: pathways included referral to sleep physicians/sleep laboratories, necessity for objective diagnosis (primarily by polysomnography), use of polygraphic methods, analysis of polysomnography (PSG), indications for positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy, application of standard continuous PAP (CPAP) therapy (100% with an CPAP/APAP ratio of 2.24:1), and the need (90.5%) and management of follow-up. Differences were apparent in reimbursement of the diagnostic procedures and follow-up, in the procedures for PAP titration from home APAP titration with portable sleep apnea monitoring (38.1%) up to hospital monitoring with PSG and APAP (85.7%), and in the qualification requirements of sleep physicians. Conclusions Management of OSA in different European countries is similar except for reimbursement rules, qualification of sleep specialists and procedures for titration of the CPAP treatment. A European network (such as the one accomplished by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology [COST] B26 Action) could be helpful for implementing these findings into health-service research in order to standardize management in a cost effective perspective.