chapter  2
14 Pages

Screening and Case Finding

Charles F. P. George

INTRODUCTION Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is becoming increasingly recognized. OSA with daytime impairment is estimated to occur in one of 20 adults but is often unrecog­ nized or undiagnosed. Minimally symptomatic or asymptomatic OSA is estimated to occur in one of five adults (1). A primary goal of screening is the detection of a risk factor or disease at an early stage, when it can be corrected or cured. Disorders with a long latency period increase the potential gains associated with detection; however, in many cases early detection does not necessarily influence survival. Screening tech­ niques must be cost-effective, if they are to be applied to large populations. Costs include not only the expense of testing but also time away from work and potential risks. When the risk-to-benefit ratio is less favorable, it is useful to provide information to patients and factor their perspectives into the decision-making process.