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Surgery Proves Effective for Sleep Apnea

Study Suggests Slight Survival Advantage for Surgery

Monitoring Is Key to Success

The veterans included in the study will continue to be followed, and Weaver says he expects the survival advantage for the surgery group to grow over time.

But sleep disorders researcher Carl E. Hunt, MD, says surgery is not an appropriate option for all sleep apnea patients who don't comply with CPAP treatment. He adds that many patients who think they can't get used to the devices can be trained to do so with the help of a sleep specialist.

Hunt is director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, a division of the National Institute's of Health's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

"Many people with sleep apnea are not treated by specialists, but by their primary care physicians," he tells WebMD. "They are often prescribed CPAP and then sent home with little or no monitoring, and they don't have access to the troubleshooting they need to make the treatment work. Careful monitoring is critical, but too often overlooked. CPAP works, but only if a patient uses it."

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