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PutanEndtoSnoring Newsletter

Snoring Factoid:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea may affect more than 18 million people in the United States
(National Institutes of Health)

February 2002  Issue 6

News Avoiding the cost of a sleep study

   If you or your doctor think you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you need to get it checked out.  Your life may depend on it.  The standard diagnostic tool is an overnight sleep study at a sleep clinic.  You'll be wired up with numerous sensors all over your body and a sleep technician will monitor you as you sleep. 

A sleep study is great if your insurance will cover it and if you can wait several weeks for the clinic's next available opening.    But if you do not have insurance, you're looking at a $1200-3000 medical bill.  And you're probably asking: isn't there a way I can do this at home more cheaply?

Well, some at-home diagnostic tools are now emerging.  All still need a doctor's prescription. One is the BedBugg System, marketed by Sleep Solutions. This consists of a bedside monitoring device attached to three sensors: a chest sensor, a breath sensor and a finger sensor. You strap yourself up, push the start button on the machine and go to sleep.  In the morning, the device will have collected a wealth of data that the manufacturers claim is equivalent to the data that would have been gathered at a sleep clinic.

Sleep Solutions says it has shipped more than a thousand BedBuggs to patients since introducing the product in January 2001.  The price is about half the cost of a sleep study and the company is having some success getting insurance companies to pay for the tests. 

An order of magnitude less expensive still -- under $100 -- is the SleepStrip, marketed by an Israeli company, SLP Ltd. This sensor attaches to the patient's upper lip and monitors respirations overnight. SLP says the data correlates well with formal sleep studies and, given its low cost, could be used as a screening device to tell doctors whether a full-blown sleep study is required.

The SleepStrip was introduced to the U.S. last year with mixed success -- one distributor told PutanEndtoSnoring that patients found it difficult to use, with the result that replacement products often had to be shipped. SLP believes it has fixed the problems and is currently seeking new distribution in the U.S.

Most recently, another Israeli company, Itamar Medical, has received FDA approval for a device which will track your heart rate and oxygen saturation through a simple sensor attached to your finger.  The product is called the Watch_PAT100, and it measures something called the PAT (Peripheral Arterial Tone) signal, which apparently reflects what's going on with your autonomic nervous system. 

Watch_PAT100 will be available in the U.S. next quarter through Respironics and will be sold to medical centers who in turn will make it available to patients for in-home use.  Respironics believes the cost of the equipment and analysis software is low enough that the cost per patient will be a few hundred dollars.  If the Watch_PAT100 does prove reliable in screening for OSA, this will clearly be an attractive option for many patients: it's a lot easier to put a sensor on your finger than carefully position something on your face.  Easier to sleep that way too.

Is this information useful to you? Send us questions or feedback.  And remember, information provided by PutanEndtoSnoring does not substitute for the advice of your physician. 

PutanEndtoSnoring highlights

Latest news: Anything we can find that would interest snoring sufferers

Snoring basics: why is it important to deal with your snoring?

Snoring remedies: numerous ways to address  your snoring problem

Snoring types: are you socially incorrect?

Glossary: quick definitions of snoring-related words you'll run into.

Message board:.  Discuss remedies on the PutanEndtoSnoring Forum

Favorite Links
TalkAboutSleep, for news, forums and chat on all types of sleep disorder

Waylon Jennings, 1937-2002.  Thanks for so much great music.

PAT -- the Movie: Related to the story alongside, Itamar Medical offers this online movie demonstrating how the brain alters the PAT signal when it cannot breathe.  Looks painful!

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This Newsletter's Featured Product is from NoiseLezz

Noiselezz is a soft, non-intrusive mouthpiece designed in Denmark to treat both snoring and sleep apnea. Wearing it during sleep helps prevent the jaw and tongue from falling back and restricting the airway.  The inventors say:  "Use of this new device has changed the life for the majority of the patients; thus increasing the working capabilities, social accommodation and sexual spirit/force."

Obtain Noiselezz in North America from Therapy Control Products

Feature  Feature article:  Get my tongue out of my throat!

One of the causes of both snoring and sleep apnea is the tendency of the tongue to fall back into your throat when you relax during sleep.  This blocks your airways so you can't breathe.

The Repose Tongue Stabilization System is a little-known procedure for preventing the tongue blocking your airways.  Using this procedure, a surgeon creates a hammock of support using a miniature screw with two attached sutures. The screw is inserted into the jawbone through a small incision in the floor of the mouth and the attached permanent sutures are passed through the tongue. The suture is tensioned just enough to hold your tongue in place when you lie down on your back.  The sutures are tied together, and the resulting knot is buried in the floor of the mouth.  

A complete description of the procedure is available from Influ-ENT, makers of the Repose surgical kit (yet another Israeli lab). InfluENT Medical in the U.S. can be reached at (800) 564-7077.

Send me your experiences with this or other snoring cures and we'll use it in this slot.

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ForumFrom the PutanEndtoSnoring Forum:

This section features a current posting to our forum.  The forum had several postings about injection snoreplasty -- until we incompetently destroyed the entire forum .  Here's Sigrid's experience with snoreplasty, repeated from last issue.  We welcome all readers experiences with snoring remedies of all types.

I had injection snoreplasty done 6 days ago. The injection hurt more than I expected (but I'm very pain sensitive). I would recommend taking some Advil or Tylenol before the procedure (it's hard swallowing a pill afterward!) and perhaps some Valium or something to relax you (my gag reflex was pretty active). My uvula is very swollen. My throat was sore for the first couple of days but that has diminished greatly. I was able to work the next day (home office) but talking was a strain. The injection site was red the first day, then turned black, now is turning white from the outside edges into the center (still black). The most unexpected thing is that I have developed a dry cough and vocal cord irritation, so my voice is very weak and speaking is very tiring and can be painful. I had to not speak most of yesterday, but feel better today. Hot tea helps. I had one episode of a sudden spasm of the throat (vocal cords) after trying to swallow a sharp-edged pill, and I couldn't breathe for a short while, but it passed. I have a history of these episodes from inhaling or eating sharp or powdery foods that trigger this sudden spasmodic response. So that seems to be sensitized by this procedure. I'm still very hopeful that my snoring will diminish and looking forward to the next 6-8 weeks (the doctor tells me it takes 8 weeks to get the full effect). Sigrid

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