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Editorials |

Autotitrating CPAP : How Shall We Judge Safety and Efficacy of a “Black Box”?

Lee K. Brown, MD, FCCP
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Albuquerque, NM


Correspondence to: Lee K. Brown MD, FCCP, Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and Vice Chair, Department of Internal Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, UNMH Sleep Disorders Center, 1101 Medical Arts Ave NE, Building 2, Albuquerque, NM 87102; e-mail: lkbrown@alum.mit.edu



Chest. 2006;130(2):312-314. doi:10.1378/chest.130.2.312
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Medical technology has become increasingly complex and difficult for nonengineers to understand, while at the same time the exigencies of the marketplace have made medical equipment manufacturers reluctant to divulge detailed descriptions of the technology used in their devices. In some cases, this is of minimal or no importance; for instance, the mechanical details of how a bronchoscope tip is deflected are not critical when the clinician can directly observe the results. However, medical devices that collect, filter, and analyze data, providing only the processed version to the clinician, or those that interpose their own judgment in diagnosing a condition or treating a patient must be subject to much more investigation before we can fully trust their functionality. In truth, we can rely on most automated technology only under certain conditions, and these limitations should be fully vetted before the devices are made available to clinicians.

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