September 2007
Do you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Anesthesiology; Pulmonary Medicine; Surgery

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep disorder that causes recurrent episodes of complete and partial airway collapse during sleep, resulting in the failure to breathe properly. Approximately 80-90% of OSA patients are undiagnosed. The Patient Safety Authority has received over 250 reports that show obstructive sleep apnea as a contributing factor in causing those events. About 20% of those events are considered serious events or events that caused harm to the patient. Three deaths were also reported with obstructive sleep apnea cited as a contributing factor. The reports included medical and surgical patients in both ambulatory surgical centers and hospitals. Answer the following questions to determine if you should see a physician for obstructive sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Screening Tool

This questionnaire is a sample tool to screen for obstructive sleep apnea. It is not a substitute for a sleep disorder evaluation by a qualified physician. However, it may help you determine whether or not you should consult your physician for further evaluation. If you answer “Yes” to any of these questions, please see your doctor.

Yes or No
  1. Do you snore loudly (e.g. can you be heard through a closed door)?
  2. Does your bedroom partner complain about your snoring?
  3. Does your snoring wake you up at night?
  4. Do you or your bedroom partner notice that you make gasping or choking noises during sleep?
  5. Has your bedroom partner ever noticed that you have stopped breathing during sleep for 10-30 seconds? 
  6. Do you have a dry mouth, sore throat, or headache in the morning?
  7. Do you often fall asleep during the daytime when you want to stay awake?
  8. Are you often tired during the day?

For copies of this questionnaire, click on “Patient Information” at For a related article, click here.

©2018 Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority