Obstructive sleep apnea is a respiratory disorder wherein an individual’s airway is obstructed during sleep as muscles relax and the airway walls and tissue collapse. The resulting asphyxia arouses the individual from the deeper stages of sleep so that normal breathing can be restored.
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It is this disruption of regular sleep rhythms that causes the negative symptoms associated with sleep apnea.
In order to be considered an apneic event, a ten second interval between breaths and neurological arousal and/or blood oxygen desaturation are required.
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There are three classifications of sleep apnea: obstructive, central and complex. The first, obstructive, is the most common (approximately 80% of cases) and is the focus of this chapter.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is defined as an interruption in breathing despite respiratory effort from the patient. The patient’s nervous system stimulates the muscles involved in breathing, but a physical obstruction in the airway prevents the airway from opening.
In the much less prevalent central sleep apnea, observed in only 0.4% of total cases, breathing is interrupted by a physiological lack of respiratory effort caused by the central nervous system. The final type of sleep apnea is complex, where the patient experiences central and obstructive sleep apnea features transiently through the sleep period.
Complex apnea comprises approximately 15% of cases. Because of the nature of sleep apnea, individuals that are affected by the condition are rarely aware of their difficulties breathing while asleep, and symptoms may be present for decades before the sufferer is diagnosed and subsequently treated.
It is estimated that only 15% of patients in the U.S. who have sleep apnea have been diagnosed.
OSA is the most prevalent form of sleep-disordered breathing. Due to relaxation of the muscles during sleep, the walls of soft tissue in the throat have a propensity to collapse.
It is important to treat severe, chronic OSA due to the risks associated with sleep deprivation (including dangerous driving), low blood oxygen and more serious complications, including a form of congestive heart failure called corpulmonale.
Sleep apnea diagnostic devices are segmented into four different categories.
Philips Respironics ResMed CAIRE Inc. Becton Dickinson GE Healthcare Covidien DeVilbiss Invacare Dr?ger Teleflex Fisher & Paykel Inogen Smiths Medical Ambu Mindray Omron Maquet Westmed Natus Medical Others include: Airgas, BD-CareFusion, Cramer Decker, eVent, Flexicare, Flotec, Fukuda Denshi, GE Healthcare, Global Medical Holdings, Graham Field, Intersurgical, Invacare, Mada Medical, Maquet, Massimo, Medis, Mercury Medical, Metal Impact, Nellcor, Nidek, O2 Concepts, Oxlife, Penlon, Percussionaire, Philips Respironics, Sechrist, Somnostar, Spacelabs, SunMed, Teleflex, Ventlab, VisionAire, Welch Allyn, Zoll,.
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