How did you get involved in OSA field?
I was involved in OSA field already as a resident. Most of my knowledge and experience regarding diagnostics and treatment of OSA patients I gained working with prof. Davorin Danic, who is very experienced head and neck surgeon and the most prominent surgeon in OSA field in Croatia. Together we had introduced DISE in Croatia 7 years ago, and this diagnostic method changed our surgical planning and improved operative success. We also started tonsillotomy for OSA treatment in children and were very satisfied with good outcomes and low postoperative morbidity. From 2015 to 2017 we had organized 3 multidisciplinary courses about diagnostics and treatment of OSA.
In 2018 I received Certificate of Advanced Studies in Sleep, Consciousness and Related Disorders from University Bern, Universita della Svizzera Italiana. I am continuing my studies in OSA field.
How is this work in conjunction with your specialty training?
ENTs and head and neck surgeons are dealing with OSA patients in their every day practice, and standard ENT training includes basics of OSA diagnostics and treatment. But to achieve adequate knowledge and skills in this field most of surgeons need extra training that include multidisciplinary approach, visits to leading centers and practical courses.
How do you see ideal collaboration between doctors of surgical and non-surgical specialties?
Regular multidisciplinary clinical meetings allow adequate diagnostics and treatment plans that are crucial for good outcomes. Multidisciplinary educational meetings are very important in gaining adequate knowledge and skills.
What kind of problems you encounter at your practice?
Although we face growing number of patients with OSA in Croatia, access to sleep laboratories is limited, especially in certain regions. Also, not many OSA patients are referred to ENT specialists.
How do you see OSA diagnostic and treatment in the future?
In future, sleep medicine has a tendency to become an independent specialty. I predict a great development in the field of new technologies especially nerve stimulation and I am very interested to see what we will learn from recently introduced research on re-education of muscles after surgical treatment.
Can you name an article or two that you have read in the last year and you think have influenced understanding/diagnostics/treatment of OSA?
Li HY et al. Intrapharyngeal surgery with integrated treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Biomed J. 2019 Apr;42(2):84-92. doi: 10.1016/j.bj.2019.02.002.
asst. Prof. Ana Đanić Hadžibegović, MD, PhD
ENT Specialist, Phoniatrician
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