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Uncertainty of screening tools for obstructive sleep apnea in asymptomatic adults with treatments varying in effects

Linda L. Cheng, DDS, FAGD, ABGD .


Systematic Review Conclusion

Limited, inconclusive evidence exists on the accuracy or clinical utility of screening tools for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in adults who are asymptomatic or who may have unrecognized signs of OSA. Various OSA treatments may reduce apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) scores, and blood pressure. Limited, inconclusive evidence also exists about the effects of OSA treatments in reducing mortality or improving most other health outcomes.

Critical Summary Assessment

This systemic review conducted by the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) did not find direct or adequate evidence linking the screenings for OSA to subsequent treatments that improved health outcomes in adults who are asymptomatic or have unrecognized symptoms of OSA. The evidence available on the harms or the effectiveness of treatments of OSA on health outcomes was limited.

Evidence Quality Rating

Limited Evidence

This summary is published in the Journal of the American Dental Association and can be accessed at:

Critical Summary Publication Date:


These summaries are not intended to, and do not, express, imply, or summarize standards of care, but rather provide a concise reference for dentists to aid in understanding and applying evidence from the referenced systematic review in making clinically sound decisions as guided by their clinical judgment and by patient needs. American Dental Association © 2019