May 2009


Sleep apnoea

A general practice approach

Volume 38, No.5, May 2009 Pages 284-288

Kirk Kee

Matthew T Naughton


Snoring and sleepiness are common presentations in general practice.


To describe the frequency, clinical findings, investigations and management options for obstructive sleep apnoea.


Obstructive sleep apnoea should be considered in a range of presentations. Diagnosis is based on history, examination, investigation and, occasionally, a trial of therapy. Management options should start with lifestyle management. Further options include surgery, dental splints and continuous positive airway pressure. Continuous positive airway pressure requires long term input by both the patient and the general practitioner. Common issues with the use of machines for the management of sleep apnoea are also discussed.

Snoring and sleepiness are common symptoms presenting to general practice. In the United States of America, 60% of subjects consecutively surveyed in a primary care setting presented with symptoms of an underlying sleep disorder.1 In Australia, 6% of patients reported visiting a doctor for a problem of sleep apnoea or snoring.2

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