CPAP Therapy Test Criteria Open to Interpretation

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a transmittal on Oct. 15 clarifying the policy for conducting continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Guidelines specify that the respiratory disturbance index (RDI) is equal to the average number of respiratory disturbances per hour of continuous monitoring. “However, there is variability in the published medical literature about the definition of the events that constitute a respiratory disturbance,” states CMS in transmittal 96.

A respiratory disturbance does not require direct measurement of airflow because RDI is defined in the context of the specific sleep test technology under review. This clarification allows local contractors to determine, based on their review of the published, peer-reviewed medical literature, the equivalent test result criteria.

CPAP therapy is a non-invasive technique for relieving OSA.

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