Friday, December 3, 2010

Putting a Name to Sleep Apnea: NAMES Screening Tool a Success

Sleep experts estimate that 80 to 90 percent of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients are undiagnosed and untreated.

Many patients do not know they have a problem because they are unaware that they wake up throughout the night to breathe. Bed partners often detect OSA because of the loud snoring that can accompany the breathing disorder.

Because dentists see patients on a regular basis, they frequently screen patients for sleep apnea. If screening shows the patient is at risk for OSA, he or she will then go to sleep physician for a diagnosis and treatment.

A new study in the journal Sleep and Breathing examined a new screening method that combined symptoms with a physical exam to predict the presence of sleep apnea. The NAMES assessment looked at neck circumference, airway classification, related diseases, Epworth scale, and snoring.

By including self-reported historical factors with physical exam findings, researchers were able to better screen for OSA.

The study included 150 adult subjects. They had never been diagnosed with sleep apnea but were referred to sleep center because they showed signs of the condition.

The study results indicate that the NAMES assessment is an effective, inexpensive screening strategy for screening patients for moderate to severe OSA.

Another screening tool includes STOP.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.