Friday, October 19, 2012

Home Sleep Testing: The Patients Choice?

Recent studies have linked sleep disorders to cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, stroke and, now, diabetes.

There is further evidence now based on new studies that have been published recently confirming the link between depression, and type 2 diabetics who may have moderate-to-severe sleep-disordered breathing, which has an impact on their ability to metabolize nutritional elements as well as an impact on their insulin production.

The effects of sleep-disordered breathing have a cumulative effect on multiple organs in the body, taking a toll on the heart, lungs, kidneys and brain. In the past it was difficult and expensive to get diagnosed and treated for sleep disordered breathing. Uncomfortable labs, and the high price traditionally linked to diagnosis, and treatment may be behind us.

Unlike most sleep programs that require you to check into a traditional hospital or Sleep Laboratory overnight for a full polysomnography study (PSG). Patients can get accurately tested with a small portable device while in a natural sleeping location. This preferred logistic approach saves time and money, getting the patient tested, treated, and back on the job, or just the relief of the symptoms in less time. Among those who have experienced both methods, portable testing is the clear choice.

PSG testing should still be offered for patients who present with potentially complex sleep issues. However, portable testing is rapidly growing in use and stature as an equally accurate method of diagnosis of sleep apnea for groups who have been pre-screened and are known to be at risk for sleep apnea. A very high percentage of patients do not need any furthur testing after one night with a FDA approved diagnostic in-home sleep device. Why perform the most expensive test first? Especially if it is very likely you will never need the more expensive test.

Further, portable testing is far more flexible, more convenient for the patient, lower in cost, and far less likely to cause testing delays common to sleep labs, and hospitals. In some cases, sleep labs can require three to four week wait times, while ambulatory testing is can be performed immediately.


Sleep-disordered breathing is not something fixed overnight. Clinicians, should recognize that they need to coach and encourage their patients. Patients can be given a Auto-titrating CPAP machine for the beginning of therapy. This allows the patient to ease into the therapy while the clinicians and doctors collect the needed data to provide the patient with the proper pressure setting on their permanent machine. This helps to ensure long term compliance that leads to a healthy lifestyle change. Long term follow-up programs be in place for the purpose of proper hygiene. Access to the newest technology in masks, tubing, and any other accessories will also help esure cpap compliance.

With CPAP download data in hand, clinicians should call and actively support those who may be starting to develop compliance problems early on. Implementing real time compliance information for clinicians will help improve compliance. Patient Support Teams should provide daily compliance checking and support activities for the first month, or until the patient is clearly comfortable with therapy and set on a sure course for long-term compliance. After that period of adjustment, clinicians should follow up with each patient every three to six months to support their ongoing treatment success, document their compliance via wireless modem technology, or data cards.

Aeroflow Healthcare performs diagnostic sleep testing for the trucking industry with a program that diagnoses, treats, and holds drivers compliance for long term success with sleep apnea therapy. Aeroflow also has programs for HMO, health discount, and limited insurance programs to help reduce costs for payers and their members.

Working in conjunction with Board Certified Sleep MD's, Aeroflow's management team has extensive experience with portable testing. They have introduced and conducted successful portable diagnostic sleep studies and programs. All total, more than 10,000 successful sleep studies have been completed and continue to grow.

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