ERS | monograph Preface Tobias Welte, Editor in Chief When the first prevalence studies on OSA were published 50 years ago, it was considered a rare disease. In 1981, a letter to the Lancet even questioned whether OSA existed in the UK [1]. With the improvement of diagnostics, however, it become clear that OSA is a common disorder with serious consequences for the morbidity and mortality of patients, and with a tremendous influence on quality of life. Today, the prevalence of moderate-to-severe OSA (defined by an AHI of ⩾15 events·h−1) is 10%. The prevalence increases with age and the disease is more common in women than in men. Both the costs of the disease itself (i.e. limited working capacity, rate of traffic accidents due to sleeping while driving) and the costs of the resulting comorbidities (particularly cardiovascular and metabolic diseases) are significant. With the introduction of nocturnal CPAP therapy, the prognosis and quality of life of OSA patients significantly improved. Ventilators have now become more powerful, less noisy and better to use, thanks to rapid technological development. New ventilation modes have also been developed that allow a more individualised therapy, better adapted to the patient’s needs. A number of other treatment options besides CPAP have also been introduced into the therapeutic portfolio of OSA. In the beginning, the management of OSA patients was more art than science. Evidence increased rapidly and sleep medicine became an evidence-based specialty of pulmonary medicine. The requirements for training specialists, however, have been constantly growing over time. This issue of the Monograph summarises the current knowledge about sleep apnoea, from basic research to clinical practice future developments are also presented. I want to congratulate Ferran Barbé and Jean-Louis Pépin for compiling such an extensive book. We hope this Monograph will be helpful to clinicians and scientists involved in the management of this disease, as well as public health bodies and industry connected with this condition. Reference 1. Shapiro CM, Catterall JR, Oswald I, et al. Where are the British sleep apnoea patients? Lancet 1981 2: 523. Copyright ©ERS 2015. Print ISBN: 978-1-84984-059-0. Online ISBN: 978-1-84984-060-6. Print ISSN: 2312-508X. Online ISSN: 2312-5098. ERS Monogr 2015 67: v. DOI: 10.1183/2312508X.10000915 v
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