What’s New in the Patient Safety World

July 2010

Obstructive Sleep Apnea in the General Inpatient Population

 

We’ve talked previously about some of the dangers of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in the postoperative period (see June 10, 2008 Patient Safety Tip of the Week “Monitoring the Postoperative COPD Patient” and our August 18, 2009 Patient Safety Tip of the Week “Obstructive Sleep Apnea in the Perioperative Period”.)

 

And we’ve talked about some of the screening tools for identifying potential cases of obstructive sleep apnea (see our May 6, 2008 Patient Safety Tip of the Week “Preoperative Screening for Obstructive Sleep Apnea”). That study highlighted use of the STOP questionnaire, based on the following the four questions:

  S   “Do you snore loudly?”

  T   “Do you often feel tired, fatigued or sleep during daytime?”

  O   “Has anyone ever observed you stop breathing during your sleep?”

  P   “Do you have or are you being treated for high blood pressure?”

 

A new study using the STOP and Berlin questionnaires found a potential 60% prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea in patients admitted to general medicine units in an urban academic hospital, most of whom had never been diagnosed with OSA. Many of the patients were obese and most had comorbidities. A high percentage of these patients received intravenous narcotics or were prescribed benzodiazepines or both and none of these received any supplemental respiratory monitoring. The study highlights the risk of using such medications in potentially high risk patients and also highlights the potential benefits of using simple tools like STOP in identifying potential OSA candidates.

 

 

Update: See our November 2010 What’s New in the Patient Safety World column “More on Preoperative Screening for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

 

 

References:

 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Prevalent in the Hospital Setting

Jim Kling. Medscape June 15, 2010

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/723566

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


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