Sleep disorders in regional sleep centers: A national cooperative study

Naresh M. Punjabi, Dawn Welch, Kingman Strohl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Objective: In the last two decades there has been an increase in the awareness of and professional expertise in sleep disorders. The objective of this study was to determine the spectrum of sleep-related disorders diagnosed in regional sleep centers and compare this to a previous survey published in 1982. Design: A two-month prospective point-prevalence survey. Setting: Nineteen accredited regional sleep centers in the United States. Participants: Patients evaluated at regional sleep centers during a two-month period. Interventions: NA. Results: Obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless legs syndrome were the top three reported primary diagnoses with a prevalence of 67.8%, 4.9%, and 3.2%, respectively. The entire range of sleep disorders, however, was represented in the study sample. Nearly a third of patients had either a primary or secondary diagnosis of a non-respiratory sleep disorder. Referral physicians were most likely to be from internal medicine, pulmonary medicine, and otolaryngology. Compared to the previous survey from 1982, there has been an absolute increase in patient referrals/center with a two- to four-fold increase in the number of patients/center with a final diagnosis of a non-respiratory sleep-related problem. Moreover, there has been a greater than twenty-fold increase in the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea. Conclusion: Regional sleep centers are encountering increasing patient referrals and a broad range of sleep-related disorders. The predominant reasons for referral are related to obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless legs syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-478
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 15 2000


  • Clinical epidemiology
  • Clinical outcome
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Sleep disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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