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Diagnose Your Own Sleep Apnea

A small, portable device used for the home diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea has been deemed very reliable, according to new research presented at the 2008 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO, in Chicago, Illinois.

According to the study, authored by researchers with the New York Otolaryngology group, 120 patients over a four-month period used Holter oximeters for home sleep testing, registering a 97 percent data recovery rate during that period. Furthermore, patients reported an average comfort score of 2 (on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is the most comfortable). As a result, the authors have determined that Holter oximetry represents a new, easy to use, and reliable device for the home diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, useful in measuring outcomes for the surgical and nonsurgical treatment of obstructive sleep apnea in adults and children.

Sleep apnea  affects over 10 million Americans, and an estimated 10 million more remain undiagnosed. The disorder is characterized by loud snoring interrupted by frequent episodes of totally obstructed breathing (obstructive sleep apnea). Episodes may last more than ten seconds each and occur more than seven times per hour, and apnea patients may experience 30 to 300 such events per night. These episodes can reduce blood oxygen levels, causing the heart to pump harder.

Recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) changed their national coverage determination to include Type II, III, and IV devices for home sleep testing for sleep disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea.

Source: EurekaAlert, New York Otolaryngology group

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