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June 20, 2013

Screening For Sleep Apnea

Question:

I seem to have a couple of patients who complain of snoring and want me to make them a snoring appliance, but are reluctant to spend the time & effort to go to the sleep clinic for a baseline.

How would you feel about screening these patients with a home monitor to r/o significant apnea? If the screening is negative, I would go ahead and make the snoring appliance with some degree of confidence that I was not ignoring an apnea problem. If it is positive, then use the results of the screening to encourage them towards complete diagnosis for sleep apnea.

What monitor would you suggest for this? Also, would I need to be certified to read the results?

Dr. Smith:

That’s an OK plan, as long as you follow them up with home monitoring to make sure the appliance is removing any events. That way, you can treat anyone up to about 30 events per hour, and even higher numbers if they have failed CPAP. There is no certification for reading the studies, but it does take some education. I love the Watch-PAT 200, but it’s more robust, and you may want to spend less. The ApneaLink is a “screener” at a lesser fee, but it all depends on what you want.

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