Have SCI? CPAP May be the Answer for Sleep Troubles

Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you sleep only a few hours a night? A new study shows that people with spinal cord injury could benefit from being assessed for sleep apnea.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 77 percent of spinal cord injury (SCI) survivors have symptomatic sleep-disordered breathing, and nearly 92 percent had poor sleep quality. Breathing is considered complex with both obstructive and central sleep apnea events. Between the two types, with central sleep apnea, in depth diagnosis and treatment is required and is known to be more common with patients with cervical injury than in comparison with patients that may have a thoracic injury.

The principal investigator and lead author behind the study is Dr. Abdulghani Sankari, a physician scientist at John D. Dingell VA Medical Center and Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan. He explained, “The majority of spinal cord injury survivors have symptomatic sleep-disordered breathing and poor sleep that may be missed if not carefully assessed. Our findings help in identifying the mechanism of sleep-disordered breathing in spinal cord injury and may provide potential targets for new treatment.”

A possible treatment for sleep disorders is by using a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine which treats sleep apnea and much like it’s name, ventilates positive pressure to maintain a continuous level of airway pressure in a patient who has spontaneous breathing episodes. The machine is a solution for a many individuals currently but much of the SCI community has not been diagnosed although their sleep quality has suffered. The President of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Dr. M. Safwan Badr also specified, “Sleep-disordered breathing may contribute to increased cardiovascular mortality in spinal cord injury patients and all spinal cord injury patients should undergo a comprehensive sleep evaluation using full, overnight polysomnography for the accurate diagnosis of sleep apnea.”

The gravity of not being properly assessed for sleep apnea is severe, and according to the CDC there are 200,000 spinal cord injury survivors in the United States. Numerous medical supply companies do not address sleep apnea or carry CPAP supplies to in their portfolio, however the need is evident. Fulfilling the supply and demand will be in the hands of medical supply companies who choose to take advantage of the missing piece in the healthcare puzzle for the spinal cord injury community.

Read the full study here: https://www.aasmnet.org/articles.aspx?id=4479

The monthly, peer-reviewed Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine is the official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a professional membership society that improves sleep health and promotes high quality patient centered care through advocacy, education, strategic research, and practice standards (www.aasmnet.org).  The AASM encourages patients to talk to their doctor about sleep problems or visit www.sleepeducation.org for a searchable directory of accredited sleep centers.

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Please contact your physician with medical questions or concerns.

10/16/2014

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