Viet Nam News
HCM CITY– An estimated 800,000 people in Việt Nam suffer from obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), which requires expensive polysomnography and respiratory polygraphy screening tests.
Dương Quý Sỹ, chairman of the ASEAN Sleep Federation, said that polygraphy tests record patients’ brain waves, oxygen level in the blood, heart rate, breathing, and eye and leg movements.
Speaking at a conference on sleep medicine held last Saturday at Phạm Ngọc Thạch University of Medicine, Sỹ said: “OSA is a serious pathology and major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.”
The serious sleep disorder impairs quality of life, as well as intellectual and professional performances, and can also lead to accidents in the workplace and in traffic, he added.
“Untreated OSAS increases the rate of road traffic accidents and work-related and domestic accidents because patients often fall asleep or experience severe daytime drowsiness while driving,” Sỹ said.
A single road accident due to sleepiness caused by OSAS can incur considerable health costs, he said, adding that undiagnosed OSAS leads to higher medical costs.
“Family medicine clinics should screen patients to find out if they have a high risk of OSAS and refer them to specialised centres for polysomnography or even respiratory polygraphy,” Sỹ said.
The cost for diagnosis of OSAS is rather high, he said.
A sleep lab, for instance, is worth US$100,000 to 200,000. The cost of polysomnography is $150-$200 and $50-$75 for respiratory polygraphy.
Patients with severe OSAS need continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment which costs $1,000 to $2,000.
“Currently, the country’s health insurance fund has not yet covered this cost for CPAP treatment,” he added.
The country has nearly 10 centres for polysomnography or even respiratory polygraphy, most of them in large cities such as HCM City and Hà Nội.
“Less than 300 use continuous positive airway pressure treatment,” Sỹ said.
Sleep medicine expert Nguyễn Xuân Bích Huyên of Community Health Care Center said that smoking, secondhand smoke, overuse of tranquillizers, diabetes, and abnormal skull and facial structure could lead to OSAS.
Patients with the disorder often experience excessive daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, nighttime sweating and other symptoms.
“They also experience mood changes, such as depression or irritability, and have difficulty concentrating during the day and have morning headaches,” Huyên said.
Dr Sỹ said that OSAS is an independent risk factor for hypertension and increase risk of cardiovascular disease, abnormal glucose metabolism, and depression.
It also is associated with cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and metabolic disorders, he said.
“It increases morbidity and mortality in the general population,” he said, adding that OSAS is associated with a large number of medical complaints and with annual healthcare costs per person of 50 per cent to 100 per cent more than those for the general population. –VNS