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Thorax. 2018 Dec;73(12):1152-1160. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2017-211237. Epub 2018 Jul 31.

Management of obstructive sleep apnoea in a primary care vs sleep unit setting: a randomised controlled trial.

Author information

Atenció Primària Àmbit Lleida, Lleida, Spain.
Translation Research in Respiratory Medicine, Hospital Universitari Arnau de Vilanova-Santa Maria, IRB Lleida, Lleida, Spain.
Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Respiratorias (CIBERES), Madrid, Spain.
Respiratory Unit, Hospital San Pedro de Alcántara, Cáceres, Spain.
Contributed equally



To assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of primary care (PC) and sleep unit (SU) models for the management of subjects with suspected obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).


Multicentre, open-label, two-arm, parallel-group, non-inferiority randomised controlled trial. A total of 302 subjects with suspected OSA and/or resistant hypertension were consecutively enrolled, 149 were treated at 11 PC units and 153 patients at a SU. The primary outcomes were a 6-month change in the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) score and Health Utilities Index (HUI). The non-inferiority margin for the ESS score was -2.0.


A total of 80.2% and 70.6% of the PC and SU patients were diagnosed with OSA, respectively, and 59.3% and 60.4% of those were treated with CPAP in PC and SU units, respectively. The Apnoea-Hypopnoea Index was similar between the groups (PC vs SU (median (IQR); 23.1 (26.8) events/h vs 21.8 (35.2) events/h), and the baseline ESS score was higher in the PC than in the SU group (10.3 (6.6) vs 9 (7.2)). After 6 months, the ESS score of the PC group decreased from a mean of 10.1 to 7.6 (-2.49; 95% CI -3.3 to -1.69), and that of the SU group decreased from 8.85 to 5.73 (-3.11; 95% CI -3.94 to 2.28). The adjusted difference between groups for the mean change in the ESS score was -1.25 (one-sided 95% CI -1.88; p=0.025), supporting the non-inferiority of PC management. We did not observe differences in the HUI between groups. The cost analysis showed a median savings of €558.14/patient for the PC setting compared with the SU setting.


Among patients with suspected OSA, the PC model did not result in a worse ESS score or HUI than the specialist model and generated savings in terms of management cost. Therefore, the PC model was more cost-efficient than the SU model.


Results; >>NCT02234765, Clinical


sleep apnoea

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