Knowledge, Attitude & Practice regarding obstructive sleep apnea among physical therapy practitioners

Published: 28 April 2023| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/ssx2hnx7dh.1
Priyansha Dhiman,


One of the most prevalent types of sleep disordered breathing (SDB) is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is characterized by recurrent, brief episodes of upper airway obstructions during sleep. Physical therapy benefits the patient with fat redistribution, decreased nocturnal fluid resorption from the legs, increased pharyngeal muscle strength, and improved sleep quality. The purpose of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practise regarding obstructive sleep apnea among physical therapy practitioners. This was a cross-sectional survey study in which 384 physical therapy practitioners in the age range between 21 and 50, with a mean of 27.435.144, participated. The questionnaire was divided into four sections: the first for demographic data, the second for knowledge evaluation, the third for attitude assessment, and the fourth for practise assessment. The questionnaire was sent via a link distributed via social media applications, emails, and internet forums. The responses of each participant were gathered and analysed using SPSS. 384 physical therapy practitioners responded to the questionnaire. Out of 384 responses, the majority were female, 58.3% (224) and 41.7% (160) were male, and most of the practitioners were MPT qualified. 62.50% (240) have experience of 1–5 years, as do the majority of the physical therapy practitioners, 183 (47.70%). According to the study`s findings, only 47.1% (181) knew about OSA and 34.6% (133) were aware of its risk factors. When asked about oropharyngeal exercises, only 30.5% (117) were aware, whereas 28.1% (108) were doubtful and 41.4% (159) were not sure. When they questioned if hypoglossal nerve stimulators increased airflow, 28.6% (110) answered in favour, 27.1% (104) against, and 44.3% (170) could not decide. According to 49.7% (191) of respondents, obstructive sleep apnea is a significant medical issue,while the rest did not consider OSA a serious medical issue. When it comes to handling an OSA patient, 42.2% (162) were confident, compared to 27.6% (106) who were not, and 30.2% (116) were unsure if they could treat them. According to our findings, most practitioners (73.4%, 282) have patients with OSA, but only 31.8% (122) inquired about the condition and examined them. Only 14.8% (57) were aware of the electrical stimulation, and just 27.9% (107) were aware of the positional therapy. The limitation of the study is that responses may vary according to the mood and attention of participants, as the questionnaire was self-reported.This study’s findings showed that physical therapists are fairly aware of OSA, which causes patients to go unnoticed. So, we conclude that there is a need to increase awareness among PTs about various physiotherapeutic interventions for effective management and to incorporate changes and implement them in patients with OSA for better evaluation and patient care.Keywords: obstructive sleep apnea, apnea-hypopnea index, physiotherapeutic interventions.


Steps to reproduce

Online cross-sectional survey study was conducted using a self-made questionnaire in the format of Google forms which include question related to definition, signs and symptoms, risk factors, treatment, perspective and physical therapy of OSA. This Google form was distributed among participants through a link via social media platforms like email and WhatsApp. The questionnaire was validated by professional teacher of physiotherapy department in which 10 teachers were included. After that data was collected and statistical analysis was done of that collected data.


Maharishi Markandeshwar Institute of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation


Physical Therapy, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Physiotherapist