Sleep Apnea Pilot Project UnderwaySaskatchewan Health News Release December 18, 2006
People can now be tested more quickly for the sleep disorder apnea, through a one-year pilot project initiated by the Lung Association of Saskatchewan and the Saskatoon Health Region and funded by Saskatchewan Health.
The project will allow some people to be tested and treated for the sleep apnea at home, rather than waiting for an overnight appointment at a sleep lab. The Lung Association is providing screening support while Saskatoon Health Region delivers treatment.
"We recognize that sleep disorders can have a serious effect on residents' health, and this project will improve access to services for those with suspected sleep apnea," Health Minister Len Taylor said. "It will improve the quality of life for a significant number of people, by increasing the number of patients diagnosed and treated for sleep apnea. Better access and shorter wait times are priorities for our government."
It is estimated that about five per cent of Saskatchewan adults have severe sleep apnea, which occurs when a person repeatedly stops breathing for ten seconds or more while sleeping. If untreated, it can lead to hypertension, heart disease or stroke.
"We are very pleased to be supported in this project by the health region and the province and will continue to be involved in improving access to treatment," Lung Association of Saskatchewan executive director Brian Graham said. "The diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea can make a tremendous difference in a patient's quality of life."
David Cotton, acting head of the sleep disorders centre at Royal University Hospital, agreed the project could mean faster treatment for patients with severe sleep apnea. "We will select about 10 symptomatic patients weekly for home testing, and we estimate that about 90 per cent of them will be positive. In this group, treatment will be initiated immediately, and the response evaluated in one month," he said.
Sleep assessments are usually done in the sleep lab using polysomnography, which tests brain activity, heart rate, breathing and other functions.
More information on sleep apnea