Anatomy of a sleep study
What brings people to the McLaren Bay Region Sleep Center? What’s it like once they get there? What goes on while patients sleep? In this composite patient sketch, we follow construction worker JOHN DOZE through his experience.
JOHN DOZE, 48, was—quite literally—living on the edge. After dozing off at the controls his Caterpillar® at a local construction site, he found himself staring down a gaping hole in the earth, the machine—and his life—hanging in the balance. A co-worker had previously suggested John might have a sleep disorder, had noticed the daytime sleepiness and lack of concentration. But until John faced the facts—and the hole that was big enough to swallow up both him and his Caterpillar®—he wasn’t convinced. He had no argument this time and reached for his cell phone. The call went to McLaren Greater Lansing’s Center for Sleep & Alertness, the region’s first accredited sleep lab and a recognized leader in sleep medicine.
John arrives for his scheduled sleep study. He’s one of about 1,000 people who will undergo the diagnostic study this year at Bay.
After showing John to his room—much like a private hotel room—the registered polysomnographic technologist spends some time explaining the procedure then affixes two dozen or so electrodes and transducers to John. They’ll measure brain waves, eye movement, muscle tone and movement, blood oxygen saturation, heart rate and rhythm, and breathing. A visual and audio record will also be documented via video camera and microphone.
John follows his normal bedtime routine: he changes into the pajamas he brought from home, reads a few pages from his book, and turns out the lights. He’s aware he’s being watched, but has no trouble falling asleep after the tech runs a few tests to make sure all devices are functioning.
While John snoozes, the night tech keeps a watch over him and maintains a clear and accurate recording of his sleep, heart rhythm, and body movements with an array of constantly changing and sophisticated equipment.
Less than three hours into the study, the tech wakes John to apply the pre-fitted CPAP mask. John has stopped breathing more than 70 times already—sometimes for only 10 seconds, other times as long as 75. His oxygen levels have dropped dangerously low. CPAP applies positive air pressure, thus keeping the airway open with the goal of eliminating apneic (non-breathing) episodes and sleep disruption. Sleep apnea is a debilitating, even life-threatening condition.
The tech continually adjusts the CPAP pressure, while also monitoring John visually.
John's study is completed and ready for interpretation. The night tech will explain the findings and determine which Homecare company John chooses to provide him with his CPAP equipment. This information will be faxed and set up information will be dicussed with the homecare once insurance coverage is confirmed. Follow-up with John's physician will be at his office.
|In his 1961 hit tune, “Tossin’ and Turnin,” Bobby Lewis put to words and music what many people routinely experience. If this sounds a lot like your nights, talk to your doctor about your sleep problems.
“I couldn’t sleep at all last night …
Well I was tossin’ and a turnin’
Turnin’ and a tossin’ and turnin’ all night
I kicked the blankets on the floor
Turned my pillow upside down
Jumped out of bed
Turned on the light
I pulled down the shade
Went to the kitchen for a bite
Rolled up the shade
Turned off the light
I jumped back into bed
It was the middle of the night …”
The clock downstairs was strikin’ four … “