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Roy Salmon Patient, A-Fib Free; pacemakerclub.com, Sept. 2013

Sleep Apnea: Home Testing with WatchPAT Device and the Philips Rspironics

Itamar Medical: Managing Sleep Apnea GFX

Photo: Itamar Medical patient brochure

by Steve S. Ryan, PhD

At least 43% of patients with A-Fib suffer from Sleep Apnea as well.1  (In Sleep Apnea your breathing stops while you’re sleeping). It is now established that Sleep Apnea and A-Fib are correlated.

If you have untreated Sleep Apnea, your chances of having a more severe form of A-Fib or of not benefiting from an A-Fib treatment are greater. After a successful catheter ablation, people with sleep apnea have a greater chance of A-Fib recurring.

In a normal test for sleep apnea, you to go to a hospital-like room, put on cumbersome sensors, then try to go to sleep in this unfamiliar environment. And this test isn’t cheap. It requires extensive monitoring to measure airflow, chest/abdominal movements, electromyography, electrocardiography, and oxygen saturation levels. The formal name for this test is polysomnography (PSG).

The WatchPAT™ Device


Photo: Itamar Medical patient brochure

The WatchPAT™ is an FDA-approved wrist-worn sleep study device you can use in the comfort of your own bedroom to determine if you have sleep apnea. (PAT is short for Peripheral Arterial Tonometry [pressure measurement].)

It assesses respiratory disturbances and indirectly detects sleep apnea by measuring volume changes in the peripheral arteries along with pulse oximetry (oxygen desaturation) and respiratory arousals. (When you have sleep apnea, your breathing often stops till you have to gasp for breath. This is called “respiratory arousal.”)

Multiple studies have shown there is a high correlation of the WatchPAT with sleep indexes such as the respiratory disturbance index (RDI) and the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), compared with the same indexes measured by the normal sleep test PSG.


Philips Respironics Alice NightOne Sleep Apnea Test

Added 7/21/16: Singular Sleep.com features a different home use system for determining if you have sleep apnea. Developed by Dr. Joseph Krainin, MD, Singular Sleep offers home sleep testing in 24 states (new states are being added regularly), as well as online sleep doctor telemedicine consultations. They use the Philips Respironics “Alice NightOne Sleep Apnea Test” which features a belt that goes around your chest with a nasal cannula which you place in your nostrils and a Pulse Oximeter which you wear on your finger. This system can test both for obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. See https://singular sleep.com. Many people diagnosed with sleep apnea have trouble using or tolerating a typical CPAP breathing device. Dr. Krainin specializes in helping people adopt to or find the right machine or device to stop their sleep apnea. He is available for consultation in 24 states in the US.




Editor’s Comments:
Everyone with A-Fib should be tested for sleep apnea. Talk to your EP. With the WatchPAT device there is no excuse for not doing a sleep study. It’s easy. You just strap the WatchPAT on your wrist and put the sensors on your fingers, then go to sleep.
If your EP doesn’t have the WatchPAT device for you to use, contact Itamar Medical which produces the WatchPAT. They can usually connect you with an EP in your area who uses the WatchPAT. Website: www.itamar-medical.com; email: infousa@itamar-medical.com. Itamar’s North American number is 888-748-2627; their worldwide number is +972 4 6177000.

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Last updated: Thursday, July 21, 2016

References for this Article
References    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Bitter, T. et al. Sleep-disordered Breathing in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation and Normal Systolic Left Ventricular Function. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2009; 106(10): 164-70  http://www.aerzteblatt.de/pdf/di/106/10/m164.pdf. DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2009.0164

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