New Method Developed for Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
Scientists developed a new method that helps diagnose sleep apnea among children, according to new study published in August 2017.
The team computer analyzed oxygen levels in the blood during sleep, which could determine which children who snore habitually could benefit from a diagnosis and treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. This approach was most accurate for children with severe apnea.
“By simplifying the procedure and dramatically reducing the cost, we believe we can evaluate more children who are at significant risk, especially in areas where there is limited access to a pediatric sleep laboratory facility,” said the study’s senior author, David Gozal, MD, MBA, professor of pediatrics at the University of Chicago and immediate past president of the American Thoracic Society (ATS).
The preferred routine for diagnosing sleep apnea in the U.S. is polysomnography. This is based on the use of an oximeter to record oxygen levels, but adds additional components such as brain activity monitors, eye movement assessment, cardiac signal recordings and measures of muscle tension. A video camera typically records each study. This approach, considered definitive, requires a lot of equipment and multiple staff.
“In an odd way, this effort to cut back on resources could be seen as a major advance,” Gozal said. “Access to an accurate and easily implemented diagnostic tool, such as overnight oximetry for obstructive sleep apnea, could increase the frequency and lower the cost of screening, providing a simple, robust way to detect children at high risk and get them into treatment.”
This method is easy to employ and inexpensive, with the potential to help several children around the world with treatment measures for sleep apnea.
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