PURPOSE: This study was undertaken to determine the usefulness of home sleep studies (HSS) in the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in a veteran population. Second, we wanted to determine the health provider referral pattern for sleep studies at our facility.
METHODS: The electronic charts of all patients referred for sleep studies over a one year period were reviewed. The data collected included the patients’ age and gender, body mass index, the results of the HSS, and the referring health care provider.
RESULTS: During the study period, 480 patients underwent HSS. The HSS were successfully completed by 447 patients (93.1%). Of these successfully completed HSS, 379 patients (84.78%) had some degree of OSA. In 68 patients (15.2%) there was no definable OSA. HSS was not successfully accomplished by 33 patients (6.87%). In-laboratory polysomnographic testing was offered to each of these patients. Of these patients, 7 had some degree of OSA documented by in-laboratory polysomnographic testing. One patient had no evidence of sleep disordered breathing. In-laboratory polysomnographic testing could not be accomplished in 25 of these patients for a variety of reasons. Primary health care providers accounted for 82.4% of the HSS requests.
CONCLUSION: HSS appears to be a useful tool for the diagnosis of OSA in our veteran popoulation. In-laboratory polysomnograms, however, may be a necessary study to establish the diagnosis of OSA in some veterans. Unlike other studies, the primary health care providers at our facility appear to be well informed in the invesigation for and diagnosis of OSA.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: HSS may serve the veteran health care system as a valuable method to study large number of patients at a minimal cost.
DISCLOSURE: Semaan Kosseifi, None.