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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on July 18th, 2016

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: July 18, 2016

Sleep Technologist Advice


While You Were Sleeping: What Sleep Technologists Need to Know This Week

Your media watchdog for headlines and trends relevant to sleep technology and patient education.


Preventing and Resolving CPAP Side Effects” (infographic)
The Sleep Zone
July 7, 2016

From the article: “[This] infographic… provides solutions to the 7 most common problems people have with their CPAP or BiPAP treatment so you can remain compliant and get that restful night’s sleep you so deserve.”

Takeaway: This is a useful reminder for the newer technologist, as well as a good visual aid to refer to when working with patients using PAP.


5 Hacks to Manage Shift Work
American Sleep Association
June 30, 2016

From the article: “Shift work has been shown to have a number of negative effects on sleep, quality of life, and health, including a rating as a ‘probable carcinogen’ by the World Health Organization.”

Takeaway: We can never have too many reminders for dealing with the shift work disorder that is a constant job hazard in our line of work. Nobody can escape shift work disorder in our field for very long. Take care of yourself; there are too many Big Picture health concerns that come as a result of sleep deprivation.


Incorporating Home Sleep Testing into Oral Appliance Therapy
Sleep Review
July 4, 2016

From the article: “The use of HST for the adjustment of oral appliances is consistent with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) guidelines for dental sleep medicine, which states, ‘the dentist may obtain objective data during an initial trial period to verify that the oral appliance effectively improves upper airway patency during sleep by enlarging the upper airway and/or decreasing upper airway collapsibility.’”

Takeaway: This is an affordable and useful way to follow up on oral appliance treatment after the initial titration of the device has been established. It’s also one way that both doctors and dentists can collaborate to help improve their patients’ lives along this shared continuum of care.


Tesla’s Autopilot Vexes Some Drivers, Even Its Fans
The Wall Street Journal
July 6, 2016

From the article: “[Carl Bennett’s] car’s Autopilot technology didn’t react the way he expected… He slammed on the brakes, swerved and hit the truck. He wasn’t hurt, but the $106,000 electric car was totaled… Mr. Bennett, a consultant who lives in Warrenton, Va., complained to Tesla Motors Inc. The auto maker replied that the crash was his fault, according to a letter from Tesla reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Takeaway: Personally I keep wondering why all the technology investments are going into making driverless cars to curb drowsy driving when, really, what we need is more research and public health education to support the prevention of sleep deprivation in the first place.


Six Painful Lessons on Opioids
Advance Healthcare Network for Respiratory Care & Sleep Medicine
June 27, 2016

From the article: “As Stavros G. Memtsoudis, M.D., Ph.D. and his colleagues at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University wrote: ‘The prevalence of OSA is estimated to be 25% among candidates for elective surgery and may be as high as 80% in high-risk populations such as patients undergoing bariatric surgery.  Further complicating matters is a high prevalence of associated conditions such as obesity, hypoventilation syndrome, and chronic hypercapnia.  Disturbingly, OSA remains undiagnosed in 80% of patients at the time of surgery, which means that many patients may unknowingly be placed at risk partially because of the untreated nature of their disease, and outcomes data for such patients are necessarily incomplete.’”

Takeaway: In our field, we can never know too much about the ways in which opioid use can profoundly impact breathing during sleep or anesthesia.  When you are updating medical records for your incoming patients, always take a look at their current medications and learn to recognize the opioids on the list (and note if there are multiple prescriptions).  If you suspect opioids might figure in to a patient’s sleep-breathing problems, you can pose questions related to their drug use in technologist notes directed to your sleep physician.  As always, “document document document.”


Your Most Common Ear, Nose & Throat Questions and How It Relates to Obstructive Sleep Apnea” (Podcast 023)
Dr. Steven Park
June 19, 2016

From the article: “In this podcast episode, Kathy puts me on the spot by asking unscripted questions about the most common questions I get asked regarding the ear, nose and throat.”

Takeaway: As sleep technologists, we tend to think of sleep disorders as having a neurological or pulmonary basis, but we shouldn’t forget that many sleep breathing concerns may have their roots in the arena of the ear, nose, and throat specialty.

Note: Dr. Park is also a great advocate for raising awareness about Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS).  If you want to learn more about this complicated sleep-breathing disorder, following his blog and podcast is recommended.


Why An Arkansas State Senator Pushed To Legislate Fatigued Driving
Huffington Post
June 7, 2016

From the article: “When Arkansas became one of only two states in America to criminalize drowsy driving, it was partly thanks to the efforts of one man: state Sen. Jason Rapert (R).”

Takeaway: Sleep medicine has friends and advocates in all kinds of places. Sleep technologists who have only a few degrees of separation between themselves and lawmakers at every level (from the school board all the way up to the POTUS) are encouraged to mine those networks and relationships. Your perspective is valuable and can help drive home the importance of quality, adequate sleep as the alarming public health and safety issue it has become. It just takes one letter, email, phone call, or informal chat over coffee to provoke them to be more proactive about sleep health legislation.

About the author

Tamara Kaye Sellman RPSGT, CCSH curates the sleep health information clearinghouse, SleepyHeadCENTRAL, where she follows sleep health news headlines daily.  She generates content for inboundMed and SomnoSure and contributes as a freelance writer to AAST’s magazine, A2Zzz, and MultipleSclerosis.net, among other places.

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