AAST Position Statement: AHRQ Report Regarding Utilization of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Posted by Melinda Trimble, LRCP, RPSGT, RST, FAAST, AAST President on Apr 23, 2021 10:42:52 AM

AAST is committed to providing ongoing education and development of sleep technologists who serve their communities to treat patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (“OSA”) and other sleep disorders. AAST’s ongoing purpose is to equip sleep professionals for their essential roles in the education, diagnosis, and treatment of patients with sleeping and waking disorders. Sleep technologists who have committed their careers to this endeavor daily witness evidence of lives changed from their efforts.

AAST was formed by less than forty (40) sleep technologists as the Association of Polysomnographic Technologists in 1978. Since its formation, AAST has been committed to supporting excellence in the education and role of the sleep technologist in Sleep Medicine.

The valuable skills of the sleep technologist have been critical toward assisting physicians in their treatment of Sleep Disordered Breathing, specifically OSA. Prior to the mid-1980s, the only commercially available solutions for the treatment of OSA were tracheostomies and positional therapy. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) has changed the lives of millions of people with OSA.

PAP therapy is an essential tool in the care of patients with OSA.  AAST stands in solidarity and support of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s position regarding Continuous Positive Airway Pressure for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. We understand that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s goal is to improve the care of patients with OSA. We support the review of appropriate research as indicated in the physician response to this report, as well as ongoing research to evaluate the questions brought to light. These reviews and further research are likely to improve treatment options for patients.

AAST is committed to its ongoing mission to educate and equip sleep technologists to assist physicians in the care of these patients. As the eyes and ears of the physician the sleep technologist plays a vital role in assuring the patient’s success with therapy; any sleep technologist can tell you that CPAP therapy has changed the lives of many of their patients.

The prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea associated with accompanying daytime sleepiness is approximately 3% to 7% for adult men and 2% to 5% for adult women in the general population. (Punjabi et al, 2008).

More than one-quarter of drivers hospitalized after motor vehicle crashes were at high risk for OSA. (Purtle et al, 2020).

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) has been shown to reduce daytime sleepiness in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and is widely accepted as the most efficacious therapy for OSA (Antic et al, 2011).

Melinda Trimble LRCP, RPSGT, RST, FAAST, AAST President


Punjabi NM. The epidemiology of adult obstructive sleep apnea. Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2008;5(2):136-143. doi:10.1513/pats.200709-155MG

Purtle, MW et al (2020) Driving with undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): High prevalence of OSA risk in drivers who experienced a motor vehicle crash, Traffic Injury Prevention, 21:1, 38-41, DOI: 10.1080/15389588.2019.1709175

Antic NA, et al. The effect of CPAP in normalizing daytime sleepiness, quality of l.ife, and neurocognitive function in patients with moderate to severe OSA. Sleep. 2011;34(1):111-119. Published 2011 Jan 1. doi:10.1093/sleep/34.1.111