Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is defined as the cessation of airflow during sleep preventing air from entering the lungs caused by an obstruction. These periods of 'stopping breathing' only become clinically significant if the cessation lasts for more than 10 seconds each time and occur more than 10 times every hour.
OSA only happens during sleep, as it is a lack of muscle tone in your upper airway that causes the airway to collapse. During the day we have sufficient muscle tone to keep the airway open allowing for normal breathing. When you experience an episode of apnoea during sleep your brain will automatically wake you up, usually with a very loud snore or snort, in order to breathe again.
People with OSA will experience these wakening episodes many times during the night and consequently feel very sleepy during the day: they have an airway that is more likely to collapse than normal.
Proposed revisions to the eligibility criteria
This procedure is Not Routinely Funded and will only be considered for funding if the criteria below are met and evidenced.
IFR criteria Adults (aged 18 or above) referral for suspected sleep breathing disorder (Obstructive Sleep Apnoea):
Patients should have two major symptoms criteria
Supported by Epworth sleepiness score of ≥ 10
STOP BANG questionnaire of 3 or > score
Associated high risks first two necessary (collar size and BMI to fulfil the criteria) and others to be mentioned in the referral letter
Associated co-morbidities and recent blood tests results to be mentioned in the referral letter
AND two or more of the following:
Excessive day time sleepiness causing tiredness and lack of concentration
Witnessed Apnoeas (stop breathing episodes) during sleep
Nocturnal choking during snoring
Vigilance Critical occupations (pilots, professional drivers, HGV/train, public services), operators of heavy machinery.