Background and objectives:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea represents a widespread problem in the population, but it is often not diagnosed and not considered a true pathology. Different diagnostic tools are available for the diagnosis of sleep apnea. This study aims to demonstrate the ability of the STOP-Bang (Snoring, Tiredness, Observed apnea, high blood Pressure, Body mass index, Age, Neck circumference, and Gender) questionnaire in identifying subjects with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) Syndrome, highlighting the role of dentists as epidemiological sentinels. Materials and methods:
the STOP-Bang questionnaire was administered to a cohort of 1000 patients, assessing three private dental clinics in Italy. Excessive daytime sleepiness was measured using Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and defined as ≥ 10. Subjects were considered at risk of OSA if they had three or more positive items at STOP-Bang and were invited to undergo further examination with a type 3 polygraph. Presence of OSA was measured with the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and defined as AHI ≥ 5. Results:
482/1000 subjects (48.2%) had three or more positive items in the STOP-Bang questionnaire and were considered at risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS). Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS ≥ 10) was more frequent among subjects at risk for OSAS (73/482, 15.1%) vs. those not at risk for OSAS (30/518, 5.8%) (p
< 0.0001). Moreover, 153/482 subjects at risk for OSAS (31.7%) accepted further examination with a type 3 polygraph. Presence of OSAS (AHI ≥ 5) was suggested in 121/153 subjects (79.1%, 95% CI 71.6% to 85.1%), with 76/121 subjects (62.8%) needing treatment (AHI ≥ 15). Conclusion:
the high prevalence of OSAS highlights the role of dentists as “epidemiological sentinels”. The STOP-Bang questionnaire is a simple and efficacious instrument for screening sleep apnea patients.
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