A study in the journal Sleep and Breathing found that the majority of surveyed anesthesiologists lacked knowledge of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Serious and life-threatening complications may occur in patients with OSA and unrecognized OSA during medical procedures. Anesthetists should be able to identify OSA patients and feel confident in their ability to deal with a difficult airway.
The Obstructive Sleep Apnea Knowledge and Attitude Questionaire (OSAKA) was translated into Chinese and distributed to 321 anesthesiologists from Shandong Province. The questionnaire contained 18 knowledge items and five attitude items.
The mean total knowledge score was 11, with the scores ranging from 2 to 17. The total correct score ratio was 62 percent. Knowledge level corresponded with the participants' job titles and attitude scores. Age, sex, education, and hospital level did not affect the scores.
The survey found that when managing OSA patients, the positive attitude score was mostly below 50 percent. “Attitude” assessed the importance of the disease as a clinical disorder. It also evaluated the importance for anesthesiologists identifying OSA patients before anesthesia. Lastly, it examined the self-confidence of anesthesiologists in the management of OSA patients. With a score below 50 percent, their confidence could use a boost.
The researchers suggested that it is necessary to develop OSA training programs on OSA for Chinese anesthesiologists.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) recommended the guidelines for difficult airway management 20 years ago, and they were revised in 2003. In addition, ASA published the guidelines for screening surgical patients with OSA preoperatively and managing OSA perioperatively in 2006.