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Cost-Effectiveness of Sleep Apnea Diagnosis and Treatment in Hospitalized Persons With Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the cost-effectiveness of alternative approaches to diagnose and treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) during inpatient rehabilitation.

SETTING: Data collected during the Comparison of Sleep Apnea Assessment Strategies to Maximize TBI Rehabilitation Participation and Outcome (C-SAS) clinical trial (NCT03033901) on an inpatient rehabilitation TBI cohort were used in this study.

STUDY DESIGN: Decision tree analysis was used to determine the cost-effectiveness of approaches to diagnosing and treating sleep apnea. Costs were determined using 2021 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reimbursement codes. Effectiveness was defined in terms of the appropriateness of treatment. Costs averted were extracted from the literature. A sensitivity analysis was performed to account for uncertainty. Analyses were performed for all severity levels of OSA and a subgroup of those with moderate to severe OSA. Six inpatient approaches using various phases of screening, testing, and treatment that conform to usual care or guideline-endorsed interventions were evaluated: (1) usual care; (2) portable diagnostic testing followed by laboratory-quality testing; (3) screening with the snoring, tiredness, observed apnea, high BP, BMI, age, neck circumference, and male gender (STOP-Bang) questionnaire; (4) Multivariable Apnea Prediction Index (MAPI) followed by portable diagnostic testing and laboratory-quality testing; (5) laboratory-quality testing for all; and (6) treatment for all patients.

MAIN MEASURES: Cost, Effectiveness, and Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Ratio (ICER).

RESULTS: Phased approaches utilizing screening and diagnostic tools were more effective in diagnosing and allocating treatment for OSA than all alternatives in patients with mild to severe and moderate to severe OSA. Usual care was more costly and less effective than all other approaches for mild to severe and moderate to severe OSA.

CONCLUSIONS: Diagnosing and treating OSA in patients with TBI is a cost-effective strategy when compared with usual care.

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