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How to Select a Sleep Center


The most common sleep disorder is sleep apnea.

It has been shown that patients with untreated sleep apnea are 23 times more likely to be at risk for heart attack and 12 times more likely to have an automobile accident. In addition, apnea has been associated with heart failure, high blood pressure, pulmonary hypertension, and abnormal heart rhythms during sleep. It has been documented in >70% of men suffering from stroke, and can cause memory problems, impaired concentration, and decreased job performance.

Treatment compliance and long term results tend to be poor in some sleep centers.

To insure adequate treatment and good compliance apnea sufferers must have routine follow-up in a center where both the physician and the technologists have extensive knowledge and experience with sleep disorders. CPAP equipment is not a “one size fits all” device. Each patient is an individual, with individual needs, and that is why it is so important to see someone who is experienced in sleep.

Some sleep centers do not provide prompt initiation of treatment.

A number of sleep labs simply do the “test” without the benefit of the patient having been seen by a board certified sleep specialist. This leads to patient not being informed of treatment options which may be available, and can also lead to the wrong test being performed. In these cases, the patient is dependant on his or her primary care physician, who may or may not have any expertise in sleep medicine.

HOW TO SELECT A SLEEP CENTER (What questions to ask)?

Is the center accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine?

AASM accreditation insures that patients will receive quality care by people who are certified in the field of sleep medicine. AASM guidelines state that everyone who works in an AASM accredited sleep facility must have ongoing continuous education and training. This applies to the technicians performing the tests as well as the physician who does the interpretation.

Are the physicians board certified in sleep medicine?

Sleep Medicine is a complex field that requires special training and expertise as well as continuous education in a constantly evolving specialty. The American Board of Sleep Medicine is responsible for certifying physicians in sleep medicine.

Is the technician registered by the Board of Registered Polysomographic Technologists?

The BRPT has developed a comprehensive examination to determine competency of sleep technologists. Only technologists with a certain level of expertise can acquire the RPSGT title.

Is the technician to patient ratio during testing consistent with the guideline set forth by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine?

The AASM has set forth certain guidelines to insure patient safety. The guidelines are 1 technician for every two patients. However, there are instances where a patient may need additional care. In these situations, the ratio is dropped on one on one.

Is the Center equipped to assess any and all diagnostic possibilities?

Does the center have the equipment and technicians (with the expertise) to perform an extended selection of channels such as extra EEG channels or arm EMG channels?

Does the center have a protocol to handle medical emergencies – is there is crash cart?.



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