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The Veterans Administration and Department of Defense clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of sleep disorders: what does this mean for the practice of sleep medicine?
Martin JL, Mysliwiec V, Chowdhuri S, Ulmer CS. The Veterans Administration and Department of Defense clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of sleep disorders: what does this mean for the practice of sleep medicine? Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. 2020 Aug 15; 16(8):1377-1381.
In 2017 the Veterans Administration (VA) and Department of Defense (DOD) launched development of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, with the goal of informing and improving patient care. The guideline development process followed GRADE methodology, considering studies and systematic reviews published over the 10-year period prior to guideline development. A total of 41 recommendations were made,18 related to the diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and 23 regarding chronic insomnia disorder. In contrast to other published guidelines, the VA DoD CPGs provide a comprehensive approach to diagnosis and management of the two most common sleep disorders, including a discussion of the sequencing of diagnostic approaches and treatment options. Regarding OSA, strong recommendations were made for follow-up evaluation after non-diagnostic home sleep apnea tests, positive airway pressure therapy as first-line treatment, and the incorporation of supportive, educational and behavioral interventions for patients at high risk for PAP therapy non-adherence due to comorbid conditions. Strong recommendations were also made for the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia and against the use of kava (an herbal supplement) in the treatment of chronic insomnia disorder. These guidelines, while intended to directly inform care within VA and DOD, are broadly relevant to the practice of sleep medicine. The majority of scientific evidence was based on studies of non-military, non-veteran populations. The CPG is a major milestone for the VA and DOD in recognizing the importance of evidence-based treatments for sleep disorders in military personnel and veterans.