Sleep Apnea

Thursday, January 17th, 2008
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

While awareness of the condition is very sparse, sleep apnea is a very common condition. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, sleep apnea is as common as adult diabetes, and over 12 million Americans are affected by the condition.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed expanding Medicare’s coverage of continuous positive airway pressure therapy when it is used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. The new plan proposes to let people sleep in their own beds, using a home sleep test (HST), instead of spending the night in a sleep laboratory. Doctors will then review the results of the HST.

There is much debate over wheter this method is as effective as standard testing in lab. While the HST runs about $1,000 less than tests in a labratory and in most cases works equally as well, in some cases HSTs won’t signal if the patient doesn’t fall into a deep REM sleep where breathing is most likely to falter and therefore might not detect apnea.

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