The BMJ Awards 2019: Diagnostics Team of the YearBMJ 2019; 364 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l1117 (Published 11 March 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l1117
- Jacqui Wise, freelance journalist
- London, UK
Improving diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnoea
Sleep apnoea affects up to 4% of middle aged men and 2% of middle aged women, and latest data suggest that up to 80% of them have not been diagnosed and treated, says Nikesh Devani, respiratory registrar at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. “We know sleep apnoea is associated with increased risk of high blood pressure which increases the risk of heart disease; it’s also independently associated with metabolic syndrome and contributes to road traffic accidents,” he says.
An audit at the trust showed that patients were waiting on average 113 days from time of referral to first clinic appointment, 182 days for a sleep study, and 232 days to be told their diagnosis. In order to improve access to diagnosis, a new innovative pathway was created with a hub GP practice running a monthly sleep clinic. Patients are given a small portable device which is worn on the wrist, allowing them to undertake a home sleep study. Data are reviewed by the sleep and ventilation team …