Adult Sleep Services
To remedy a sleep problem, the first step is seeing a primary care physician. If further care is required, specialists are available at the Sleep Center at Greenwich Hospital.
Diagnosing Sleep Disorders
To help diagnose a sleep disorder, patients are usually observed overnight in the hospital. For some patients with obstructive sleep apnea, a home sleeping test (HST) may be performed in the comfort of the patient’s own bed.
Overnight In-hospital Study
Patients arrive at the Sleep Center in the evening. We provide a comfortable private room in a quiet setting to encourage as normal a sleeping pattern as possible.
The Center uses advanced technology called “polysomnography” to evaluate important body functioning during sleep. Patients are connected to devices that monitor heart rhythm, brain waves and muscle activity, eye movement, oxygen levels and breathing. A closed circuit camera allows the technologist to watch over the patient throughout the night.
In the morning, patients may leave as soon as the test is completed. The data is processed by a computer and analyzed. The results are forwarded to the patient’s physician with recommendations for follow-up treatment. The time it takes to solve sleep problems varies with each person and their individual condition.
Home Sleep Testing
HST is performed with a portable device that measures the patient’s breathing while they sleep in their own bed. Data is collected and stored in the unit until it is downloaded at the Sleep Center the following day.
Patients ages 18 and over who qualify for HST receive instructions at the Sleep Center on how to operate the equipment. It comes in a lightweight kit made up of two fabric belts for the chest and abdomen, an airflow sensor for under the nose and a pulse sensor for one finger.
The next morning the patient returns to the Center with the equipment. The recorded data is imported into the Sleep Center’s computers where it is analyzed.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep apnea can be dangerous if untreated. Those who have it are at greater risk of high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke. Being overweight can increase the chances of developing sleep apnea. Although successful treatment depends on the individual, several methods are typically used:
- Behavioral modification. For mild cases, patients may find relief from a program of weight loss and exercise, sleeping on their side (instead of on the back or stomach), or avoiding alcohol.
- CPAP. This acronym stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. It is a device that applies continuous air pressure through a small mask worn over the nose. The air holds the airway open so that breathing is not interrupted.
- Dental Devices. These may be helpful to treat snoring and mild sleep apnea.
- Surgery. Several surgical techniques are available, but this option is not for everyone.
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Referrals and Appointments
Most sleep studies are ordered by a physician who is versed in the study of sleep (for example, a sleep specialist, an ENT surgeon, pulmonologist or neurologist). If a patient does not have a sleep-qualified physician to order a test, the patient must be seen by our Sleep Center director, Stuart McCalley, MD. He will review the case to determine whether a sleep study is necessary.
To make an appointment or for more information, call the Sleep Center at Greenwich Hospital at 203-863-3167, or e-mail Dave.Polaski@greenwichhospital.org.