NASHVILLE – Every day millions of Americans ask, “Why don’t I sleep well?” The most likely answer is that they have a sleep disorder ranging from obstructive sleep apnea to insomnia that can affect overall health and increase risks for depression, weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and fatigue-related accidents. A sleep study can help determine the cause of a sleep problem.
The Saint Thomas Health Center for Sleep has earned national accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) for Out-of-Center (Home) Sleep Testing and In-Center Sleep Testing. The Center for Sleep at Baptist Hospital received dual in-center and out-of-center accreditation. The AASM is the national medical body that sets standards and examines sleep clinics.
The Center for Sleep location at Middle Tennessee Medical Center (MTMC) is also AASM accredited.
“The accreditation for home sleep testing was just introduced in February 2011 so we really are among a small number of facilities across the nation who have this designation, and to our knowledge, among the first in the Tennessee,” said Ed Giannotti, director of the Center for Sleep. “These are voluntary designations that we seek to achieve for our sleep centers. It’s important because it’s the gold standard by which the medical community and public can evaluate sleep medicine services.”
New policies related to out-of-center diagnostic testing for sleep apnea and the evolution of portable technology has shaped the diagnosis of patients with sleep apnea. The AASM’s accreditation of Out-of-Center Sleep Testing for Adult Patients helps meet the changing needs of sleep disorders centers and the sleep medicine field. Earning accreditation for home sleep testing enables sleep medicine providers to offer broader options to patients and for facilities to gain recognition as a provider that meets the highest standards of quality care.
Sleep studies can be performed to evaluate snoring, breathing, arousals, movements and certain behaviors during sleep. In addition, studies are performed to assess sleepiness or one’s ability to stay awake. During a study, sensors on the head, face and body closely monitor and record brain waves, eye movements, muscle activity, breathing patterns, blood oxygen levels and heart rate and rhythm during sleep. After the sleep study is completed and “scored,” a sleep physician reviews the recording in order to establish a diagnosis and treatment plan, working closely with the patient’s primary care physician.
Center for Sleep experts determine if a patient will benefit from an in-center for out-of-center sleep study. Typically an in-center study is optimal but an in-home study may be appropriate for some patients based on medical history and sleep issues. With an in-center study, a sleep technologist provides immediate oversight in the sleep lab. For home testing, the patient uses a portable monitor that is unattended but records various parameters that are downloaded and analyzed by a sleep professional the following day.
“While the majority of our patients will require an in-center test, our team believes that by adding the availability of home studies more people will get access to the treatment they need,” added Giannotti.
The Center for Sleep opened in 2006 and is the largest sleep center in Middle Tennessee with 22-bed capacity and state-of-the-art technology. A part of Saint Thomas Health, the Center for Sleep includes locations in Nashville on the Baptist Hospital campus and in Murfreesboro at Middle Tennessee Medical Center. The Center for Sleep staff is comprised of physicians focused on pulmonology, neurology, psychiatry, pediatric sleep medicine, ear, nose and throat and dentistry. They diagnose and treat a full range of sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, inadequate sleep hygiene, insufficient sleep syndrome and childhood sleep disorders. The Center for Sleep is managed by SOVA Sleep Services. For more information, visit www.TNCenterforSleep.com or call (615) 284-7537.
About Saint Thomas Health
Saint Thomas Health is the market share leader in Middle Tennessee and a faith-based health ministry with more than 6,500 associates. Saint Thomas Health’s regional health system consists of five hospitals – Baptist Hospital, Saint Thomas Hospital and The Hospital for Spinal Surgery in Nashville, Middle Tennessee Medical Center in Murfreesboro and Hickman Community Hospital in Centerville – and a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures in diagnostics, cardiac services and ambulatory surgery as well as medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities. Saint Thomas Health is a member of Ascension Health, a Catholic organization that is the largest not-for-profit health system in the United States. For more information, visit www.sths.com.