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Method and Apparatus for Diagnosing Sleep Breathing Disorders while a Patient is Awake

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Patent Application, Filed 28 Nov 2000

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This invention is generally related to methods and apparatus for performing medical diagnoses and particularly to a method and apparatus for enabling the diagnosis of sleep breathing disorders or other physiological respiratory dysfunction while the patient is awake. 2 Description of the Prior Art Sleep breathing disorders and other physiological respiratory dysfunctions in humans constitute an area requiring diagnosis. One such area is called obstructive sleep apnea or sleep disorder breathing. Within the pediatric, infant and newborn population the incidence of apparent life threatening events, sudden infant death syndrome and sleep disorder breathing have all been well documented. Sleep apnea also affects over 25 of apparently healthy adults age 55 and older. Sleep apnea contributes to daytime fatigue, increased work place accidents and a number of cardiovascular disorders. The need for a relatively easily implemented procedure exists to provide efficient methods and procedures for diagnosing these various physiological respiratory dysfunctions United States Letters Patent No. 4,982,738 to Griebel discloses a diagnostic apnea monitor system that records snoring and respiration sounds made by a patient as well as the patients heart rate while the patient is sleeping. Signals indicative of snoring sounds and the time intervals there between are produced from the recorded respiration. The system generates a first respiration disturbance index representing the number of intervals per hour between episodes of snoring. An average heart rate is also generated in response to the patients recorded second respiration disturbance index representing the number of episodes per hour in which the patients heart rate remained at 90 to 109 of its average rate is calculated. A physician then evaluates the first and second disturbance indices to determine whether obstructive sleep apnea is indicated.

Subject Categories:

  • Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems
  • Life Support Systems

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