Dental Sleep Practice Magazine – Spring 2017 “Precision Medicine in a Dental Practice” by Dr. Shouresh Charkhandeh, Chief Dental Officer, Zephyr Sleep Technologies
Today, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, about 30 million patients suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) in the US alone. And unfortunately, about 80% of these patients remain undiagnosed, despite all the efforts and advancements in raising awareness, screening, diagnostic technology and clinical guidelines. The cost associated with this group alone is around 150 billion dollars per year; if we add the cost of treatment it adds up to 162 billion dollars per year. As of today, common treatment options are Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) and surgical interventions, in combination with lifestyle modifications. The most common prescribed treatment remains to be CPAP at 85%, despite its not so impressive long-term compliance rate. Per the same study, only 60% of patients on CPAP remain adherent to this therapy, while the other 40% choose to discontinue treatment for various reasons. While the compliance rate and patient acceptance with OAT seems to be higher, the utilization rate remains very low at 5-10%, despite its proven efficacy in 50-60% of all patients. Closer scrutiny of the numbers reveals that our current model is resulting in about 40% inefficiency; i.e. 40% of patients that are prescribed CPAP are not using it and about 40% of all OSA patients that are OAT responders do not receive the care they need.