SAN DIEGO — Home testing for obstructive sleep apnea reduces costs and preserves good clinical outcomes compared to traditional testing in a sleep lab, according to a new study from researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh. The new study was presented yesterday at the American Thoracic Society International Conference in San Diego.

The randomized clinical trial examined 233 veterans undergoing testing with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device while sleeping; 110 of them in the lab and 113 at home. Both groups were overwhelmingly male, with an average age of 52 in the lab-based testing group and 55 in the home-testing group. Home testing consisted of an overnight recording with portable monitors to diagnose and help map a plan to begin CPAP treatment. Cost data were culled from case reports, staff logs, and VA administrative records and were estimated per category—sleep-related, pharmaceutical, laboratory, hospital, and other costs.

The research team was led by Penn Medicine’s Samuel T Kuna, MD, associate professor of Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and chief of the Sleep Medicine section at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The team’s analysis found no evidence of clinical inferiority of home testing when assessed using the Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire. And, the cost of sleep services, measured over 2.75 years, was $564 lower with home testing compared to lab testing.

“These data, we believe give further support to the use of to the use of home sleep apnea management,” says Kuna. “It represents a cost-savings and allows the patient to use the device for the first time in the comfort of their own bed in their own home.”

The project was funded by a Health Services Research and Development (HSRD) grant from the Veterans Health Administration.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.

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