Study objectives: To determine attitudes and knowledge
about sleep medicine among chest physicians.
Interactive survey of self-selected respondents.
Setting: Interactive session at the 1998 American College
of Chest Physicians (ACCP) annual meeting.
Participants: Approximately 60 chest physicians.
Interventions: Interactive questions about the knowledge,
training, attitudes, and practice of sleep medicine.
Measurements and results: Response rates demonstrated that
65% of respondents directed or were on the staff of a sleep
laboratory, 18% had American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM)
certification, and only 3% had completed formal sleep medicine
training, and performance on test questions about sleep-disordered
breathing was better than that on questions about “nonpulmonary”
sleep disorders. We polled approximately 60 participants in an
interactive session called “Issues in Sleep Medicine Education and
Practice” at the ACCP annual meeting in October 1998. The group was
well-credentialed, with about one third of participants being
board-certified in pulmonary medicine and critical care medicine, and
about 17% having passed the ABSM examination. About two thirds of the
group spent ≤ 25% of their time in the practice of sleep medicine,
but > 30% directed sleep laboratories. Respondents thought that
sleep training was better addressed in pulmonary fellowship training
than in medical school or other postgraduate training experiences.
Forty-three percent of the group had received training in sleep
medicine as part of a pulmonary fellowship. About half of the sample
thought that formal training should be required for eligibility to take
the ABSM examination. When presented with two “nonpulmonary” sleep
disorder cases, this well-trained and self-selected group did not
perform very well. The findings suggest that pulmonologists are
actively involved in the practice of sleep medicine and that they both
need and desire formal training in sleep disorders during pulmonary
Conclusions: Participants were
actively involved in the practice of sleep medicine, most had trained
informally, and performance on questions about nonpulmonary sleep
disorders was not good.