Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects 33% of the population. Eighty percent of those are undiagnosed (Downey, 2011). This number is expected to grow as our population gets older and more obese. Forty one million surgical procedures are performed in the United States each year, so this does affect the practice of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist’s (CRNA). OSA can lead to an array of complications including cardiac arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, hypertension, congestive heart failure, myocardial ischemia, cerebrovascular insufficiency, intracranial hypertension, gastroesophageal reflux disease, difficult intubation, and unanticipated admissions to the ICU. It is estimated that the average life span of a patient with untreated OSA is 58 years, which is much shorter than the average life span of 78 years for men and 83 years for women (Chung & Elsaid, 2009).

Obstructive Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that involves cessation of or significant decrease in airflow while breathing. It is the most common sleep disordered breathing and is characterized by recurrent episodes of airway collapse during sleep. These episodes are associated with recurrent arousals from sleep and a decrease in oxyhemoglobin saturations (Downey, 2011).

This independent project is intended to bring awareness to anesthesia professionals regarding the pathophysiology, recommendations, diagnosis, and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.