USPSTF: More Evidence Needed Before Routine Screening of Adults Can Be Recommended Interview with:

Martha Kubik

Dr. Kubik

Martha Kubik, Ph.D., R.N.
Professor, School of Nursing
College of Health and Human Services
George Mason University
Member, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force What is the background for this study?

Response: Obstructive sleep apnea is a health condition in which part or all of a person’s airway gets blocked during sleep, causing their breathing to stop and restart many times. Untreated sleep apnea is associated with heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. However, there is currently very limited evidence on screening people who don’t have signs or symptoms like snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness. What are the main findings?

Response:  The Task Force found that the current evidence was insufficient to recommend for or against screening for sleep apnea in adults who do not know they have signs or symptoms. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: It’s critical for clinicians to know that the Task Force is not recommending for or against screening, it is calling for more research on this important topic. Because the evidence is unclear on whether or not routine screening is beneficial, healthcare professionals should use their judgment when deciding whether or not to screen for sleep apnea. What recommendations do you have for future research as a results of this study?

Response: Broadly, we are calling for more information on whether routine screening for sleep apnea improves people’s health. Specifically, we need more research on the accuracy of screening and risk assessment tools that can help identify people most likely to benefit from screening. We also need more research on the benefits and harms of screening people with no recognized symptoms, how sleep apnea develops from mild to moderate and severe cases, and the benefits of identifying and treating sleep apnea early. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The Task Force recognizes that Black, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Hispanic, and Latino communities are at increased risk for sleep apnea and other health conditions, and we always consider how our recommendations may address racial disparities in healthcare. Unfortunately, for this recommendation, there is not enough evidence on the benefits and harms of screening in all populations, including the people most impacted by sleep apnea. We encourage anyone who has questions or concerns about their health or their sleep habits to talk with their healthcare professional.


  1. Feltner C, Wallace IF, Aymes S, et al. Screening for Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Adults: Updated Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force. JAMA. 2022;328(19):1951–1971. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.18357

2) US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Adults: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2022;328(19):1945–1950. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.20304

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Last Updated on November 23, 2022 by Marie Benz MD FAAD