Impact of wait times for treatment on clinical outcomes in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea: protocol for a randomised controlled trial

ERJ Open Res. 2022 Jun 20;8(2):00068-2022. doi: 10.1183/23120541.00068-2022. eCollection 2022 Apr.


Background: Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a common chronic condition that is associated with significant morbidity and economic cost. Prolonged wait times are increasingly being recognised as a barrier to diagnosis and treatment of many chronic diseases; however, no study to date has prospectively evaluated the impact of wait times on health outcomes in OSA.

Objective: The purpose of this study is to determine whether treatment outcomes for individuals with OSA differ between patients managed using an expedited versus standard pathway.

Methods: A pragmatic randomised controlled trial design will be used with a target sample size of 200 adults. Participants with clinically significant uncomplicated OSA will be recruited through referrals to a large tertiary care sleep centre (Calgary, AB, Canada) and randomised to either early management (within 1 month) or usual care (∼6 months) with a 1:1 allocation using a concealed computer-generated randomisation sequence. The primary outcome will be adherence to positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy at 3 months after treatment initiation. Secondary outcomes will include change in sleepiness, quality of life, patient satisfaction, and patient engagement with therapy from baseline to 3 months after PAP initiation, measured using validated questionnaires and qualitative methods.

Anticipated results: This study will determine whether expedited care for OSA leads to differences in PAP adherence and/or patient-reported outcomes. More broadly, the findings of this study may improve the understanding of how wait time reductions impact health outcomes for other chronic diseases.