Sleep laboratories reopening and COVID-19: a European perspective

Eur Respir J. 2021 Mar 4;57(3):2002722. doi: 10.1183/13993003.02722-2020. Print 2021 Mar.


Clinical activities regarding sleep disordered breathing (SDB) have been sharply interrupted during the initial phase of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic throughout Europe. In the past months, activities have gradually restarted, according to epidemiological phase of COVID-19 and national recommendations. The recent increase in cases throughout Europe demands a reconsideration of management strategies of SDB accordingly. Diagnosis of SDB and initiation of treatment pose some specific problems to be addressed to preserve the safety of patients and health personnel. This perspective document by a group of European sleep experts aims to summarise some different approaches followed in Europe and United States, which reflect national recommendations according to the epidemiological phase of the COVID-19 infection. Respiratory sleep medicine is likely to change in the near future, and use of telemedicine will grow to avoid unnecessary risks and continue to provide optimal care to patients. In addition, the document covers paediatric sleep studies and indications for titration of noninvasive ventilation, as well as precautions to be followed by patients who are already on positive airway pressure treatment. A single consensus document developed by the European Respiratory Society and national societies would be desirable to harmonise SDB management throughout Europe.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Laboratories / organization & administration*
  • Pulmonary Medicine / organization & administration*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis*