Why Clinicians May Miss Identifying Patients Who Could Benefit from Positional Sleep Apnea Therapies

Why Clinicians May Miss Identifying Patients Who Could Benefit from Positional Sleep Apnea Therapies

Cut up-night research that don’t essentially permit sufferers the time to alter postures and a scarcity of dependable reimbursement can result in position-dependent sleep apnea being missed.

Clinicians face a number of obstacles in figuring out positional obstructive sleep apnea (POSA), which might hinder their capability to deal with the situation.

Positional sleep apnea can have an effect on as many as 49.5% of sufferers with delicate sleep apnea and 19.4% of these with average sleep apnea. In folks of Asian respectable, these numbers are larger with as many as 75% of all obstructive sleep apnea sufferers having a positional element.1 “Many physicians working in sleep medication actually underappreciate the prevalence general of positional sleep apnea,” says Samuel Krachman, DO, a pulmonologist and professor of thoracic medication and surgical procedure at Temple College’s Lewis Katz Faculty of Medication.

Positional sleep apnea refers to sleep-breathing difficulties related to the supine place, which promotes a downward gravitational pull and causes the muscular tissues within the airways to fall straight again. Whereas there’s at the moment a plethora of gadgets in the marketplace to assist folks hold off their backs when asleep, figuring out positional sleep apnea is just not all the time simple.

In recent times, third-party payors have turn out to be stricter of their standards for who qualifies for an in-lab sleep check. And those that are authorized for in-lab research are sometimes solely authorized for a split-night examine (as a substitute of a two-night examine, when a affected person is identified one evening after which titrated the second evening). Throughout split-night research, sufferers won’t have time to imagine all positions, says Krachman.

In keeping with analysis, printed within the journal CHEST, positional sleep apnea can’t often be correctly assessed throughout a split-night examine.2

“The most important difficulty, in lots of circumstances, is how we diagnose sufferers in america leaves a niche in data,” explains Daniel Levendowski, president and co-founder of Superior Mind Monitoring, which produces the FDA-approved Evening Shift positional sleep apnea remedy machine.

“[Sleep technologists] solely want two hours of sleep time to know whether or not to maneuver that affected person to CPAP and in that two-hour window it is rather troublesome to get an excellent evaluation on whether or not a patent has positional OSA. The tip result’s that many sufferers who’re identified with sleep apnea don’t know if they’ve positional sleep apnea,” says Levendowski.

Whereas many sleep techs instruct sufferers to sleep on their backs throughout a part of in-lab research, there nonetheless won’t be sufficient time throughout a split-night to make a dedication whether or not a affected person has positional sleep apnea.

It doesn’t assist that sufferers should not correct reporters of their very own sleep place, so asking them about how they sleep could not yield any helpful info. Even when sufferers fall asleep on their aspect, most everyone will shift in the course of the evening and sleep a while on their again, says David White, MD, chief medical officer at Philips. “Nearly everyone spends a while on their again, even when they don’t assume they do,” he says.

One more reason why POSA might not be acknowledged is that clinicians should not all the time on the lookout for it in sleep examine experiences. Most dwelling sleep testing gadgets do seize sleep positions, however examine interpreters could not contemplate that info to be related.

One cause could also be as a result of insurance coverage corporations don’t often reimburse for positional remedy gadgets. “The sufferers don’t actually wish to pay for it [out of pocket]. The medical doctors don’t actually know find out how to get it for them simply, and they also don’t pursue it and simply go along with CPAP,” says White. “I believe it isn’t a lot an issue of recognition; it’s been extra an issue of implementation.”

That is even supposing some wearable gadgets have been proven by means of scientific analysis to be simply as efficient as CPAP for folks with POSA. One examine, printed within the Journal of Medical Sleep Medication, discovered that positional remedy is equal to CPAP at normalizing the AHI in sufferers with positional obstructive sleep apnea, with related results on sleep high quality and nocturnal oxygenation.3

Particularly, the researchers regarded on the Zzoma Positional Machine, a tool worn across the higher torso that retains sufferers asleep on their sides by stopping supine sleep. They discovered that the machine was profitable in lowering the AHI by greater than 50%. One other notable discovering is that there was minimal night-to-night variability within the non-supine AHI in sufferers with positional OSA, in line with the examine.

“When you get the affected person off their again, they may normalize their apnea-hypopnea index to lower than 5, which is all the time our major purpose,” says Krachman, a coauthor.

It’s particularly essential to take a look at different therapies since many sufferers can’t tolerate CPAP. “If everybody was prepared to make use of CPAP on a regular basis, then it wouldn’t be a difficulty. No one would care, you’d simply pop on the CPAP and everybody could be pleased. The issue, clearly, is with CPAP adherence,” says White.

Up to now, physicians as soon as steered that sufferers ought to tuck a tennis ball into their shirts to remain off their backs whereas they slept, however this technique proved uncomfortable and lots of sufferers didn’t get pleasure from having a tennis ball of their beds. Expertise has come a good distance and now there are a selection of gadgets which have been manufactured with affected person compliance and luxury in thoughts.

NightBalance Lunoa, which was acquired by Royal Philips in 2018, slips inside a delicate belt that may be worn across the chest in the course of the evening. When the individual carrying the machine rolls on their again, it provides off a mild vibration, a sensation that the producer says is simply sufficient agitation to encourage a change of place, with out disrupting sleep.

The Evening Shift, which is strapped to the neck, is another choice that vibrates. The vibrations begin at a low depth after which slowly enhance to instigate motion, explains Superior Mind Monitoring’s Levendowski.

One other positional sleep help, the CPAPology Sleep Noodle Positional Sleep Help, targets loud night breathing. A foam cylinder, very like a pool noodle, is strapped across the stomach, encouraging folks to sleep of their sides. “We tried to discover a foam that might be snug whereas nonetheless providing the correct help to maintain that affected person off their again,” says Kevin Gowanlock, president of KEGO Company, the corporate that manufactures the machine.

Analysis has already demonstrated that positional remedy is efficient at lowering apneas, however physicians additionally would possibly discover that sufferers are extra compliant with positional sleep apnea therapies than with their CPAP machines. One examine, printed within the journal SLEEP, discovered that individuals who used this technique had compliance charges of as much as 71%.4

Relying on the doctor’s strategy, positional remedy can be utilized as a major therapy, together with CPAP or an oral equipment, or it may be tried after different therapies fail. “I personally would put them on the positional machine first, fairly than going to CPAP first,” says White.

“If somebody provides you a tool to put on round your chest that will get you off your again every now and then—it’s rather more tolerable to the overwhelming majority of individuals and so it is going to find yourself getting a good variety of extra folks handled,” says White.

Lisa Spear is affiliate editor of Sleep Evaluation.


1. Mo J, Lee CH, Rhee C, et al. Positional dependency in Asian sufferers with obstructive sleep apnea and its implication for hypertension. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011;137(8):786790.

2. Mador MJ, Kufel TJ, Magalang UJ, et al. Prevalence of positional sleep apnea in sufferers present process polysomnography. Chest. 2005;128(4):2130-7.

3. Permut I, Diaz-Abad M, Chatila W, et al. Comparability of positional remedy to CPAP in sufferers with positional obstructive sleep apnea. J Clin Sleep Med. 2010 Jun 15;6(3):238-43.

4. van Maanen JP, de Vries N. Lengthy-term effectiveness and compliance of positional remedy with the sleep place coach within the therapy of positional obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Sleep. 2014 Jul 1;37(7):1209-15.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *