Objectives: Obstructive sleep apnea is a common disorder with significant morbidity and effects on quality of life. Management can include a range of mechanical, behavioral, and surgical approaches. This paper aims to devise a model of management options to assist in initial cost-effectiveness investigations.
Methods: In the absence of practice pattern data and widely accepted guidelines, we reviewed published literature and devised a model of treatment options to facilitate initial studies of outcomes, costs, and cost-effectiveness.
Results: Obstructive sleep apnea is rarely addressed by conservative behavioral-based strategies because these options, while inexpensive, have only limited effectiveness. Effective treatment most often relies on nasal continuous positive airway pressure, but poor tolerance or compliance sometimes leads to treatment with oral appliances or surgery. Patients treated by one modality may try another if the initial strategy is ineffective. Laboratory evidence that sleep apnea is effectively treated, and long-term follow-up, are necessary regardless of the treatment modality chosen.
Conclusions: Each patient's treatment plan must be individually tailored, but the management model proposed here reflects available evidence-based literature and the authors' impression of current practice patterns. This model should be useful for initial cost-effectiveness investigations.