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Sleep Health Specialty Updates

November 2017

Database to measure CPAP effectiveness

A database of sleep-therapy information may help improve the sleep health of patients using continuous positive airway pressure devices (CPAP). About 9,000 patients within the University of Minnesota Health sleep health program use CPAP as a treatment for sleep apnea. In this program, these devices wirelessly transmit patient sleep data into the patients’ electronic health record and the database. The data allow physicians to measure device effectiveness, patient sleep and compliance in use of CPAP, and potential device problems (e.g., leaks). The information also allows patient support teams to interact more efficiently in determining device effectiveness and in assessing and developing techniques for better device use and compliance. With continuous updates on patients’ sleep available to physicians, use of the database has helped to minimize patient office visits, on average reducing them from 7 down to 3.

Sleep health program assists commercial drivers

University of Minnesota Health sleep specialists are working with commercial trucking services to help those drivers who may be at risk of sleep apnea. Untreated sleep apnea leads to less-than-optimal sleep and daytime sleepiness and can be a problem for drivers who must remain alert on the job. Truckers are at high risk of sleep apnea—roughly 50% are thought to be affected. Patients referred into the program by their companies take a sleep evaluation and, upon diagnosis, receive appropriate therapy. Treatment is commonly with a CPAP device.

— Michael Howell, MD

Sleep program developed to aid athletic performance

A program founded by a University of Minnesota Health neurologist and sleep medicine specialist promises to help athletes improve their performance through optimizing their sleep and circadian (biological) rhythms. Improved sleep can help improve reaction times, speed, and overall athletic performance. Michael Howell, MD, plans to assist athletes, coaches and staff working at the college, professional, and Olympic levels. Program staff will identify the effects of sleep on an individual’s performance, introduce sleep training, and provide guidance on managing sleep problems. They will also work with coaches, helping them to optimize practice time and make day-night personnel decisions.

Related Articles

November 2017

New Therapies for Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Sleep Disorders

An estimated 50 to 70 million U.S. adults have sleep disorders, and nearly half of these experience sleep apnea. New devices and coordinated care approaches are providing new hope for relief.

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November 2017

Upper Airway Stimulation Device Provides Relief for Patient with Sleep Apnea

A patient with a history of sleep problems and poor tolerance for CPAP opts for a new treatment. Two months after device placement, she reports less daytime sleepiness and improved restful sleep.

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