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Barcelona hospital monitors sleep apnoea patients from home
By thinkSPAIN Team Tue, Nov 13, 2018
A HOSPITAL in Barcelona has set up a system allowing it to monitor patients with sleep apnoea from home, cutting down on in-patient stays by an average of 40% to 50%.
Equipment installed in patients' bedrooms sends data remotely to the multi-disciplinary sleep disorder unit at the Hospital del Mar, and a nurse reviews them under supervision by a team of specialist doctors.
So far, eight patients have been hooked up to the system to see how their treatment is working.
Sleep apnoea is where a person briefly and periodically stops breathing whilst asleep, causing the body to jolt itself out of the normal sleep-wake cycle as an emergency response to enable it to start breathing again.
As a result, the patient never gets through the full phase of deep, repairing sleep as this is constantly interrupted and restarted.
Snoring is often a sign of sleep apnoea, although recent research shows female sufferers are less likely to snore, meaning it can still be diagnosed in 'silent sleepers'.
The only way to diagnose the condition, which is statistically infrequent but far from unusual, is for the patient to spend a night in a specialist sleep unit in hospital.
Hospital del Mar's home-monitoring equipment includes a continuous positive pressure apparatus (CPAP), the standard treatment method for sleep apnoea, but with a remote function that sends data to a central system at the medical centre.
The machinery can be reconfigured remotely, too, meaning patients' treatment can be adjusted without their needing to visit the hospital.
Using the system, medics can see how long the patient spends asleep in the different phases, how many episodes of apnoea he or she suffers, and for how long.
Unless any problems are detected via the system, patients will not need to go to hospital for check-ups or for their equipment to be altered, says head of the sleep unit, Dr Miguel Félez.
Photograph by the Sleep Disorders Association (ATS)
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