Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Update on the sleep test

So Roland had a very hard time actually sleeping while connecting to lots of little wires. The technician said that he did fall asleep enough to get enough data though.

That data is now in the process of being sent to an expert in another state, because nobody around here can interpret it. Within three weeks we should hear back.

It all seems sort of silly to me. I mean, if the man rolls on his back he will stop breathing for a few seconds and then sort of startle and gasp. When he sleeps on his side there are not pauses between breaths, but sometimes it sounds like he is trying to drag air in through a flattened tube, and after three or four breaths he will do a little mini startle thing and take a deep breath.

But that can't be diagnoses as sleep apnea without an expert in another state reading all the data from all the little electrodes.

Don't they just treat it having him use one of those ridiculous-looking masks (CPAP)?

Does anyone know if the information they get from the little electrodes is really important? I mean, given that you can SEE that he startles as gasps for air when he sleeps, is it necessary to know EXACTLY what is happening all over his body? I know it might be interesting, but will it make a difference to treatment decisions?

Seriously, does anyone know?


  1. From what I understand, what they try to measure is less if he wakes up and more how many times a night he wakes up. I would imagine the number would make a difference in how/what is used to treat it.

    I know I have sleep apnea, as does Hubby. It'll be interesting to see what happens with Roland ... and your reactions.

  2. I don't think I'd be able to sleep that way either - poor Roland! I hope you get the results back shortly.

  3. Cathy6:17 PM

    I think it also has something to do with the size of the puffs of air the machine puts out. I can't believe it's going to take three weeks to get it back, if they can read it on sight they set you up with a machine that day. I know quite a few people who look like jet pilots of old when they go to bed at night! They all feel so much better now, have energy, and can think better than they have in years. I think it also has to do with getting into and staying in RIM sleep.

  4. I think that would be an EEG--infamous for being used to diagnose seizures or brain death. In this case it's used to measure whether or not he's asleep and by how much. Your brain works differently when you are asleep.

  5. Anonymous7:51 PM

    The actual measurements are important; they are looking at how often the o2 drops per hour and how low it goes. They also use the sleep study results (often the 2nd half of the night) to test out the mask and find out what the right settings should be.

  6. Carrie9:43 PM

    Sleep apnea can be caused by a glitch in the brain or by anatomy, and that's what the electrodes are measuring. The severity of it is also measured because it makes a difference as to how it gets treated. Sometimes CPAP isn't necessary (it's pretty disruptive to the other people in the room), and sometimes it won't be enough and surgery is required. My husband works for a company that makes the equipment sleep labs use to measure this stuff, so I asked him for you :-)

  7. Thank you Carrie, and others!

    Golly a blog can be helpful.


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