<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1717549828521399&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

«  View All Posts

Blog Feature

By: David Wolfe, MSEd, RRT-SDS, RPSGT, RST on May 13th, 2020

Print/Save as PDF

Advanced Sleep Titration e-Learning Course: Anatomy and Physiology

advanced sleep titration


So, maybe you’re presently learning about electrocardiogram (ECG) interpretation. Or, last week you were reading about a new treatment for sleep apnea. Tomorrow, you may read a sleep-related scientific article that you understand completely. Without realizing it, the anatomy and physiology you have learned, up until now, formally or informally, helps you to understand these topics.


If you look at the education of health professionals, most of them include information regarding the anatomy and physiology of the human body. Some people learn about this because they simply want to know more about anatomy and/or physiology, but this material is needed to understand future subject matter. Anatomy and physiology is the foundation of medicine.

Think about it – everything you know about disorders and treatments are somehow linked to anatomy and physiology. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has to do with problems with the airway anatomy. Treatment changes the anatomy back to normal. The co-morbidities associated with OSA are caused by changes in the normal function of the body – physiology. Treatment of sleep apnea can partially or completely reverse associated co-morbidities because physiology has been returned to normal.

Anatomy and Physiology of ECGs in Sleep Medicine

How about ECGs? . . . what do they have to do with anatomy or physiology? If you are familiar with ECGs, you know that simply looking down at some squiggly lines and knowing the cardiac rhythm does not help very much. When individuals learn about ECGs, they may try to look at one rhythm and try to match it up to another rhythm that looks similar. They will quickly realize this is not helpful, in most cases. Atrial fibrillation doesn’t always look the same; neither does ventricular tachycardia. Even asystole can look a little different.

The more helpful way to learn about ECGs is to know what is happening in different areas of the heart – both anatomy and physiology! Realizing that, first of all, what you are seeing on the ECG may not necessarily be what the heart is even doing – you see electrical signals, but mechanically, the heart is not matching this. You can then correlate certain waves and complexes to what the heart is most likely doing. After a few more steps, accurate ECG interpretation will hopefully follow.

If there is a problem with the heart, treatment may be needed. Whether this involves electrical therapy or medication, these treatments, chemically or physically, change the way cells react and correct the irregular cardiac rhythm. Changes in anatomy can be corrected because of the improvement in impaired physiology.

Brain Physiology and Sleep

How does alcohol effect sleep? How do medications help insomnia? Furthermore, how does cognitive behavioral therapy help insomnia? This all has to do with changes in physiology; brain physiology. Chemical changes in the brain, whether by medication, alcohol consumption alterations, or sleep restriction, can improve sleep.

Ventilation Strategies 

When learning about ventilation strategies to help patients with hypoventilation syndrome, treatment-emergent sleep apnea, and obstructive sleep apnea, understanding respiratory anatomy and physiology is the most important step. The AAST offers an Advanced Sleep Titration e-Learning Course where positive pressure treatments are covered, in-depth. And, guess what the first module is . . . Anatomy and Physiology! Why is this the first module? I know you know the answer, but I’m going to tell you, anyway – because you need to learn the anatomy and physiology to be able to truly understand the later modules.

So, next time you are learning a new medical-related topic or teaching someone about a disorder or treatment, think about it . . . is your knowledge of the material in some way based on anatomy and physiology you learned prior? I’m pretty sure the answer will be yes!

AAST Advanced Sleep Titration e-Learning Course


AAST is proud to introduce a brand new online education offering dedicated to state-of-the-art titration technology and techniques. The AAST Advanced Sleep Titration e-Learning Course is a series of five modules that progressively build on the lessons of the previous module(s), resulting in a thorough understanding of cardiorespiratory anatomy and physiology and enhancement of your Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) titration skills.

AAST Advanced Sleep Titration e-Learning Course