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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on October 31st, 2016

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: October 31, 2016

Sleep Technologist Advice

trick or treat pug
Your media watchdog for headlines and trends
relevant to sleep technology and patient education. 


Increasing Sleep Technologists Proficiency in the Diagnostic Process of Narcolepsy
October 27, 2016

From the article:The Atlanta School’s free CEC Program 'Increasing Sleep Technologists Proficiency in the Diagnostic Process of Narcolepsy' is an all-online, interactive activity that mixes didactic presentations with live scoring exercises & quizzes.”

Takeaway: Totally worth taking a look at, especially if you have limited experience with MSLTs at your lab and need to brush up on the latest research about narcolepsy.


Screening Tools for Sleep Apnea Less Accurate in Women Who Are Pregnant
October 19, 2016

From the article:There is a growing body of literature demonstrating that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is directly linked to an increase in adverse maternal and fetal complications. Although there are a number of OSA screening tools available, they have been found to be less accurate in pregnant women, making OSA diagnosis and treatment even more challenging in these patients..”

Takeaway: Something we should all be aware of. 


Experts Debate: Do Sleep Labs Have a Future?
October 26, 2016

From the article:The question was debated here at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, CHEST 2016, during a 'pro/con' session. The consensus: they will be around in the future, but their role will be limited.

Takeaway: The debate continues. Where do you stand?


Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) Interfaces Side-by-Side Comparison Guide (November 2016)
October 25, 2016

From the article:Compare 13 positive airway pressure (PAP) interfaces side by side.

Takeaway: These annual reviews are extremely useful for sleep labs and DME providers when making buying decisions or interface recommendations for patients. Take a look at what SR has to say about these masks.


Asleep at the wheel? Michigan woman uses 'sleep driving' defense
October 28, 2016

From the article: “ ' I didn't do anything illegal,' Bailey said. 'I had been so sick and I hadn't had a shower in two days.' ... She says she intended to sleep for eight full hours as the medicine requires. ' I then took an Ambien to get some sleep and the next thing I know I am being fingerprinted,' Bailey said. ... Bailey says she doesn't remember driving at all. 'I literally do not know what happened,' she said. Bailey says she had taken the medication for the past ten years with few issues.”

Takeaway: A fascinating case that leaves open a lot of questions: Shouldn't a nurse who has used this medication for over 10 years know better? Should driving under the influence of Ambien be considered a crime?

These are all things we, as sleep technologists, must consider for those patients who must take an Ambien (sometimes, for the first time) to sleep for a study. We don't know how they will respond and the odds are almost certain they will not get the recommended 8 hours of sleep time before getting into a car and driving away from the lab.

Also, based on the findings in this court case, people who have used Ambien for a long time may still be at risk for driving drowsy or impaired after a sleep test. 

Let's remember that we need to be vigilant about risk assessment with these patients so nobody has to face the consequences of drowsy driving.

Finally, to answer a question in the article, drowsy driving does not only mean the driver has fallen asleep at the wheel. Being sleepy or drowsy is qualification enough.  


Sleeping Around: How To Sleep At High Altitude
October 19, 2016

From the article:Sleep at altitude is invariably described as being fitful and difficult. High altitude has many affects on the body. Oxygen, which comprises roughly 20.9% of the air we breathe at sea level dwindles down to about 13.2% at 12,000 feet, and I felt it when I carried my supplies through the Cusco airport. [1] Thankfully my local driver Hugo soon met me and effortlessly relieved me of my bags. 'Buenos dias,' he smiled 'Cusco very high.' 

Takeaway: If you aren't completely versed in how altitude can impact respiration during sleep, here's a well-done personal essay on the subject that should clarify the impact of thin air on breathing, both during wakefulness and sleep.


FMCSA Panels Advance Sleep Apnea Recommendations
October 24, 2016

From the article:Two Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration advisory committees forwarded on Oct. 24 a slate of comprehensive moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea risk factor recommendations that the agency could use in a formal regulatory requirement for truck and bus drivers to submit to costly diagnostic sleep studies."

Takeaway: More steps taken toward federal regulation of vehicle operators with OSA. Will the transportation lobbyists fight back? Stay tuned.

BIO:  Tamara Kaye Sellman RPSGT, CCSH curates the weekly sleep news 
clearinghouse, SleepyHeadCENTRAL, where she follows sleep health
headlines daily. She is also
Chief Content Officer for inboundMed and
contributes to
AAST’s magazine, A2Zzz, and other places.