Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts, can lead to serious health complications such as fatigue, hypertension, cardiovascular events, and diabetes. OSA occurs when the muscles of the throat intermittently relax during sleep, resulting in complete or partial blockage of the upper airway. Anyone can develop OSA, but some factors may increase the risk, such as obesity, male gender, older age, alcohol and drug use, smoking, having narrowed airways, and family history.
There are a variety of interventions for the management of OSA, and the use of positive airway pressure therapy is one option for OSA. Others include mandibular advancement devices to facilitate airflow, surgery, changes in diet and lifestyle to reduce risk factors for OSA, and pharmacotherapy. Public coverage of the costs of these treatments varies across Canada, leading to differences in access for Canadians. This is due, at least in part, to the challenge of selecting the most appropriate therapy for patients with differing clinical profiles.
To address this challenge, CADTH is undertaking an Optimal Use project to assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness, safety, and patient experiences of interventions for OSA in adults. Ethical issues, implementation considerations, and potential environmental impact will also be addressed.
The project has three key components:
- Science report
- Recommendations report