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Sleep disordered breathing is a major public health problem across Europe that remains under diagnosed throughout the region. Although treatments for conditions like obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome are generally effective, the lack of systematic data collection on the prevalence of sleep disordered breathing and the continued under diagnosis of its related conditions highlights the importance of continued research into prevention, treatment and management of sleep disordered breathing.
The virtual ERS International Congress programme includes a dedicated sleep and breathing disorders track that has been developed by experts in the field. The track includes a variety of activities for health professionals who are involved in the management of sleep and breathing disorders and for researchers with an interest in this disease area.
Q: The congress theme is digital health. Why is this area important for sleep disordered breathing specialists?
A: Digital health has a crucial role in the future of sleep medicine. This includes not only options for individualised, long-term follow up, but also diagnostical procedures, performed at the patient’s home over more than a single night. Digital health will also allow us to collect and interpret data on cardiovascular consequences over the long term in real life situations.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to a closure of sleep labs and substantial reduction of sleep medical services. Many patients missed timely diagnosis, optimal treatment, reduction of risk. This underlines, how relevant the integration of digital health in the sleep medical portfolio is for patient care.
Q: Is there a particular session in the sleep disordered breathing track that should not be missed?
Participants should not miss the symposium dedicated to the major Congress theme; ‘Digital health meets sleep breathing disorders‘ (Sunday 5 September, 16:30–18:00 CEST). This symposium addresses important aspects of technology and telemedicine, but also addresses evaluation of sleepiness and perspectives and limitations of big data analyses.
Q: What do you think will be the popular topics in the sleep disordered breathing field at this year’s Congress, and what will be a highlight for you?
A: A popular topic will be the symposium ‘Digital health meets sleep breathing disorders‘ (Sunday 5 September, 16:30–18:00 CEST) and the ‘ERS guidelines on non-continuous positive airway pressure therapies in obstructive sleep apnoea‘ (Tuesday 7 September, 09:30–10:00 CEST). My personal highlights will be the symposium ‘What is new for sleep apnoea? The European perspective: findings from the European Sleep Apnoea Database (ESADA)‘ (Tuesday 7 September, 16:30–18:00 CEST) and the state of the art session ‘Sleep and breathing disorders‘ (Tuesday 7 September, 14:45–16:15 CEST).
Q: What does congress offer to early career professionals who specialise in sleep disordered breathing?
A: The congress is a unique opportunity to boost your work network and connect with a vibrant sleep medicine scientific community from all around the world, keep yourself up to date in clinical practice and research, and get involved in different sleep medicine orientated projects promoted by ERS and ERS Assembly 4.