Reena Mehra, MD, MS: Importance of Screening for Obstructive Sleep Apnea


The director of the Sleep Disorders Research Program at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine discussed the importance of identifying and diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea as a prevention for a number of its consequential risk factors.

“We definitely can do better. We are really trying to make strides to accomplish that here at the Cleveland Clinic, in particular, through the rollout of this obstructive sleep apnea care path.”

As is, unfortunately, the case, underdiagnosis is quite common in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Although Reena Mehra, MD, MS, director, Sleep Disorders Research Program, and professor of medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, and her peers working in sleep disorders often have screening at the top of mind, this isn’t always the case in other specialties or even general neurology practice.

Part of the challenge, as Mehra pointed out to NeurologyLive, is that the tools required to make the diagnosis and the process of screening patients simply aren’t as available as they should be. The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates more than 80% of moderate to severe cases of OSA go undiagnosed, and with upwards of 20 million patients in the US alone, this lack of proper diagnosis creates an approximately $149.6 billion in economic burden from loss of productivity, and the risk of workplace and motor vehicle accidents.1,2

In an interview, Mehra shared insight into the OSA care path developed by Cleveland Clinic to help provide physicians with a guide with an embedded tool which is simple to use and will allow these clinicians to complete each step of the screening process.


1. Sleep Apnea Information for Clinicians. American Sleep Apnea Association website. Updated 2019. Accessed October 10, 2019.

2. Economic burden of undiagnosed sleep apnea in U.S. is nearly $150B per year [press release]. Darien, IL: American Academy of Sleep Medicine; Published August 8, 2016. Accessed October 10, 2019.

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