Tobias Welte, Editor in Chief
When the first prevalence studies on OSA were published 50 years
ago, it was considered a rare disease. In 1981, a letter to the Lancet
even questioned whether OSA existed in the UK . With the
improvement of diagnostics, however, it become clear that OSA is
a common disorder with serious consequences for the morbidity
and mortality of patients, and with a tremendous influence on
quality of life. Today, the prevalence of moderate-to-severe OSA
(defined by an AHI of ⩾15
is 10%. The prevalence
increases with age and the disease is more common in women
than in men. Both the costs of the disease itself (i.e. limited
working capacity, rate of traffic accidents due to sleeping while
driving) and the costs of the resulting comorbidities (particularly
cardiovascular and metabolic diseases) are significant.
With the introduction of nocturnal CPAP therapy, the prognosis
and quality of life of OSA patients significantly improved.
Ventilators have now become more powerful, less noisy and
better to use, thanks to rapid technological development. New
ventilation modes have also been developed that allow a more
individualised therapy, better adapted to the patient’s needs. A
number of other treatment options besides CPAP have also been
introduced into the therapeutic portfolio of OSA.
In the beginning, the management of OSA patients was more art than
science. Evidence increased rapidly and sleep medicine became an
evidence-based specialty of pulmonary medicine. The requirements
for training specialists, however, have been constantly growing over
time. This issue of the Monograph summarises the current knowledge
about sleep apnoea, from basic research to clinical practice; future
developments are also presented. I want to congratulate Ferran Barbé
and Jean-Louis Pépin for compiling such an extensive book. We hope
this Monograph will be helpful to clinicians and scientists involved in
the management of this disease, as well as public health bodies and
industry connected with this condition.
1. Shapiro CM, Catterall JR, Oswald I, et al. Where are the British sleep apnoea
patients? Lancet 1981; 2: 523.
Copyright ©ERS 2015. Print ISBN: 978-1-84984-059-0. Online ISBN: 978-1-84984-060-6. Print ISSN: 2312-508X. Online ISSN: 2312-5098.
ERS Monogr 2015; 67: v. DOI: 10.1183/2312508X.10000915 v