South Nassau Communities Hospital

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South Nassau in the Community

10/09/2008

Center for Sleep Medicine Earns Accreditation


South Nassau Communities Hospital’s Center for Sleep Medicine has been granted accreditation by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).

To receive accreditation, the Center exceeded the AASM’s standards for professional, quality healthcare. The AASM is a professional membership organization representing sleep medicine clinicians, researchers, facilities and educators. Its standards were developed and are continuously reviewed to ensure the incorporation of the latest advances in sleep medicine into all evaluations and treatment plans.

“The AASM accreditation process involved detailed inspections of the Center's facility and staff, including an evaluation of testing procedures, patient contacts, and physician training,” said Sheila D’Nodal, MD, South Nassau’s Vice President of Ambulatory Services. “In addition, the Center was required to demonstrate that its goals and objectives are clearly stated and designed to positively affect the quality of medical care in the communities it serves.”

South Nassau’s Center for Sleep Medicine combines standard-setting patient accommodations and amenities with leading edge sleep medicine technologies to diagnose and treat disruptive sleep disorders, including sleep apnea.

South Nassau’s Center for Sleep Medicine assists patients in getting to the root of their sleep problems. It houses comfortable, hotel-like rooms for overnight testing, complete with a private bath and shower, queen-size bed and cable television. Its staff features experienced, highly skilled sleep medicine specialists who are board certified with intensive training in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders.

Sleep apnea is diagnosed through a non-invasive overnight study called a polysomnogram, or “sleep study”. This procedure involves attaching various leads and sensors to the patient’s skin that record body functions during sleep. For a typical treatment at the Center, the patient arrives between 7 and 10 p.m. Once the patient has settled in, a sleep medicine technologist connects the patient to monitoring equipment. The monitoring is conducted throughout the night while the patient sleeps. When the patient wakes up in the morning, the equipment is disconnected and the patient is discharged with no restrictions to pursue his agenda for the day.

Anywhere from 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep disorder, whether sleep apnea or insomnia, restless legs syndrome or narcolepsy. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 12 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a serious disorder that causes the upper airway to collapse during sleep, hindering or completely blocking the ability to breathe.

“Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, lead to a broad range of serious health complications if left untreated,” explained Dr. D’Nodal. “Too many people think that symptoms like snoring are a normal occurrence and are perfectly acceptable, but that could not be further from the truth. We find that patients that seek diagnosis and treatment discover what a joy sleeping can be. Aside from the improvement in health, patients feel better and are more alert when they have received proper sleep.”

Risk factors include being male, overweight, and over the age of forty, but sleep apnea can strike anyone, even children. Symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, brief pauses in breathing (called apneas) followed by “gasping” sounds, excessive daytime sleepiness and even morning headaches. Only a fraction of sufferers seek treatment for the condition, which can cause a host of serious health conditions, from cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure to obesity and diabetes to stroke and memory loss. Ultimately, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for job impairment and “Drowsy Driving” motor vehicle crashes.

The most common specific treatment is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). With this therapy, a mask is worn over the nose during sleep. Pressure from a small machine gently blows air through the nasal passageway to keep the airway open, allowing the person to sleep and breathe normally. CPAP often dramatically improves the quality of sleep and relieves the daytime symptoms of sleep apnea. In some patients, a simple dental appliance is sufficient and surgeries of varying complexity are available and are at times the best treatment for maintaining an open airway.

If you feel that you experience symptoms typical of sleep disorders and would like to schedule an evaluation, call South Nassau’s Center for Sleep Medicine at (516) 374-8830.



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