According to a new study, primary doctors may be able to treat basic cases of sleep apnea, after completing training on the disorder. It was previously believed that going to a specialist for a sleep study was necessary.
Dr. Doug McEvoy and his team in Daw Park, Australia closely watched over sleep apnea treatment for 155 adults ranging in age from 25 – 70 years old. Being sleepy during the daytime is a common side effect of sleep apnea. Thus, the participants were asked to rank their level of sleepiness during the day from 0 (not tired) – 24 (very tired). On average, they put them selves at a thirteen on this scale. After treatment, the 155 adults had a mean score of 7 on the sleepiness scale.
Primary care doctors treated 81 out of the 155 participants for sleep apnea—and achieved the same result. Prior to treating anyone, the non-specialists went through a training program regarding sleep apnea remedies, and received help from experts along the way. In this instance, the cost of treatment with a sleep specialist was $2,600. A primary care physician’s bill was just $1,600. Making sleep apnea treatment more affordable and universal could have huge benefits for those who cannot afford specialists, whose fares are often high.