There was a time when people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea had no options but to obtain a referral from their physician to undergo testing for sleep apnea at a sleep clinic. This was until manufacturers like Itamar Medical decided to introduce the WatchPat device for sleep apnea testing at home. People suffering from the problem of sleep apnea were relieved by the introduction of the WatchPat device because it kept them away from the dreaded polysomnography tests which were not only expensive but also discomforting. Home sleep apnea testing also allowed physicians and cardiologists to recommend their patients to undergo sleep apnea testing from home rather than drive long distances in search of a sleep clinic.
The WatchPat device is approved by the FDA as a portable sleep apnea diagnostic device. The device uses innovative technology along with a unique finger based physiology for enabling simple and accurate diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea [OSA]. Things get even better for patients because the complexities and discomfort associated with traditional air-flow based systems are eliminated when they are suggested to undergo sleep apnea testing at home.
The WatchPat device proved to be the easiest to use home sleep apnea test. It provided comprehensive and accurate results as the manufacturer had incorporated advanced proprietary technology which operated on peripheral arterial tone signal. This unique technology measured changes in the arterial wall at the fingertip to reflect activation of the sympathetic nervous system. WatchPat is the only non-EEG device which measures the real sleep time rather than recording time to provide a complete sleep architecture.
The device can be worn on the wrist as a simple wristwatch with the need for belts, wires, and nasal cannulas being eliminated. The usage which is simple and intuitive allows for outstanding compliance and minimum failure rates of below 1%. The device has been extensively validated against the in-lab polysomnography test which is considered as the gold standard and is still recommended by physicians whenever they need their patients to undergo comprehensive testing.
Patients are not required to prepare beforehand like they would have to when referred to a sleep clinic because home sleep apnea testing requires no preparation. The patient can obtain the device from the consulting physician and return the same after overnight testing from the comfort of his or her home. The consulting physician can download the results of the test instantly for evaluation and begin providing the treatment necessary without delays.
Physicians and cardiologists also benefit from home sleep apnea testing with the WatchPat device because it does not require extensive planning on handling before and after it is used by the patient. This is a significant development because it saves valuable man-hours which can be utilized for other purposes. The consulting physician can download fully automated reports within minutes to increase workflow efficiencies as well as treatment turn around.
The introduction of sleep apnea testing at home in no way indicates that the traditional polysomnography tests will no longer be recommended or used. This is just a method of identifying the problem of sleep apnea from the comfort of the patient’s home efficiently. The results delivered by this device are effective and physicians can begin treating their patients immediately rather than wait for results which in many cases was leading to a worsening of the condition of the patient. Most importantly, sleep apnea testing at home is cost-effective compared to the traditional polysomnography tests which are expensive and cause concerns among patients that are already suffering from cardiovascular conditions. Home sleep apnea testing has been accepted by the medical fraternity as an effective method for diagnosing sleep apnea. Apart from being effective this method is also cost-effective and works efficiently both for the patient as well as the consulting physician or cardiologist.