Background: When a disorder is as prevalent as sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (SAHS), different medical levels and approaches should be involved in facilitating the diagnosis, at least, of patients with symptoms that disrupt social or working life, and of risk groups such as professional drivers. We sought to analyze the degree of concordance between management and treatment decisions for SAHS patients at sleep reference centers (RCs) and at non-RCs (NRCs).
Materials and methods: Eighty-eight consecutive patients with suspected SAHS were referred by family doctors to the NRC. The patients were studied randomly at the RC, using full polysomnography, and at the NRC, employing respiratory polygraphy. The concordance in the therapeutic approach between both centers was analyzed via the outcomes, and the physiologic variables of the sleep studies were also evaluated.
Results: The concordance in the final clinical decision was substantial. There was a good agreement with respect to apnea-hypopnea index as a categoric variable and as a continuous variable.
Conclusions: These results suggest that respiratory physicians with simple sleep studies are able to manage a large number of patients with SAHS.
Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT 00424658.