Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common type of sleep apnea, can be a serious sleep disorder, as breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Caused by throat muscles intermittently relaxing and blocking the airway, it can impair a patient's ability to reach desired deep and restful phases of sleep.
It’s finals week here at Cal State Long Beach, and we’re in the process of adopting a new mascot. I voted for the giraffe, a regal and noble animal with attractive coloring and a long tongue, but it came in dead last behind the pelican. The pelican? Seriously? The one with the big bag for carrying fish in its beak? The overwhelming winner was the shark; we have a world-famous shark research program here. But shark mascots are everywhere, and they all look like the “Saturday Night Live” land shark from years ago. And they have so many teeth. But I digress.
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Every sleep professional knows that getting the right equipment (and getting it to work right) is crucial for any patient. Sometimes the companies that make durable medical equipment (or DMEs) are extremely helpful when working with patients, while others are not. We asked some of our members to explain their relationship working with DMEs, for better or for worse.
During my site visiting years, I spent a considerable amount of time on planes reading accreditation applications. One thing that always puzzled me was that many centers included high and low ranges for sleep stages as a percentage of total sleep time. Despite the fact that my site visiting hit its peak in 2010, I think these numbers usually came from the 1974 opus by Williams, Karacan and Hirsch, which appears to be out of print. Patients with inadequate Stage 3 or excessive REM were branded as abnormal. But abnormal how?
Murray Johns developed the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and published his methodology in 1991. (1) He subsequently tested its reliability in a group of 104 medical students (2) and found a test-retest correlation of r = .82. For those of us who are fans of Karl Pearson and his product-moment correlation coefficient (and I know there are many fans out there), this is a very large correlation and indicates that the measure is reliable.
This is the final installment in a six-part series on the evolution of the sleep technologist role. AAST has engaged professionals from across allied healthcare to address, from their perspective, the value of collaborating more closely with sleep technologists and/or incorporating the discipline into their area of health. Nurses, Heal Thyself! I am a nurse. I have been for 20 years, and I have been tired for those entire two decades. I am not alone. As nurses, we are called upon to be superheroes ... impervious to things like hunger, pain, sadness and fatigue. We keep going. As the years go on we become crusty and curt. We proudly earn the nickname ‘Nurse Ratchett’. We show up. We put aside our fatigue to care for patients because we consider the need for sleep to be a character flaw; only for the weak. A true nurse can churn out shift after shift, even on minimal sleep because we will never abandon our patients.
This is part three in a six-part series on the evolution of the sleep technologist. AAST has engaged professionals from across allied healthcare to address, from their perspective, the value of collaborating closer with sleep technologists and/or incorporating the discipline into their area of health. Evolution, by any stretch of the imagination, can be a hard concept to grasp. It involves acknowledging that what is happening at the moment might not be the best thing to bring into the future, but trusting that the unknown is going to lead you to where you should be. How we take care of our patients today needs to adapt to the changing healthcare environment, where reimbursements are fluctuating and insurance payors are creating an uncertain future. The way in which we have always done things needs to adapt to this new healthcare reality. The sleep field has evolved tremendously over the years, and the role of a sleep professional continues to grow within the sleep realm.
This is part two in a six-part series on the evolution of the sleep technologist role. AAST has engaged professionals from across allied healthcare to address, from their perspective, the value of collaborating more closely with sleep technologists and/or incorporating the discipline into their area of health. Check out part one here. As a clinical dentist, I have been intimately familiar with the issue of airway patency for almost 40 years. It was during my dental school days back in the late 1970’s that I was introduced to the concept of “form follows function” as it pertains to facial growth in children and adolescents.
Sleep problems can predispose individuals to many medical conditions. Conversely, medical disorders can lead to sleep disturbance. In fact, sleep disturbance represents one of the most challenging, yet exceptionally common problems faced in the primary care practice today.
"The app I downloaded tells me that I am sleeping just fine ..." As sleep technologists, how many times have we heard this from patients? That latest piece of software or technology that promises to help with sleep apnea or make our jobs obsolete, commonly known as “sleep trackers” or “activity monitors" carries with them many questions for both patients and sleep technologists.