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Originally published by 2 Minute Medicine® (view original article). Reused on AccessMedicine with permission.

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1. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients have similar outcomes regardless of sleep specialist or non-specialist care.

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2. Systematic review data for access to care and adverse events with OSA patient care was insufficient based on current studies.

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Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent)

Study Rundown:

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OSA is associated with significant morbidity and use of health care resources. Some symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness, decreased quality of life, and myocardial infarction. The authors of this study aimed to compare whether sleep versus non-sleep specialists resulted in more effective care for patients. In general, it was observed that outcomes did not differ regardless of specialist care for OSA patients. This study has several limitations. First, the articles retrieved for the review were limited in terms of evidence. Second, based on the cohort of articles analyzed for this review, the results are not generalizable to all patient populations and all types of non-specialists. Finally, the majority of evidence was low in terms of strength. Overall, the results of this study suggest that sleep specialists may not be required to manage OSA patients.

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Relevant Reading: Clinical Guideline for Sleep

In-Depth [systematic review]:

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The authors of this study conducted a systematic review to compare sleep versus non-sleep specialists in the care of OSA patients. The primary outcomes of the study included mortality, access to care, quality of life, patient satisfaction, adherence, symptom scores, and adverse events. A total of 3086 articles were retrieved in the initial search, of which 12 were included in the final study. Of note, it was observed that there were similar statistical findings for quality of life, adherence, and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale score regardless of the two study cohorts. Furthermore, data regarding access to care and adverse events was insufficient. Other outcomes, including resource use, cost, and time to initiation of treatment were reported sporadically.

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