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Snoring Sounds Alone to Diagnose (and monitor treatment of) Sleep Apnea

this just out. could this really be 90% accurate and equivalent to NPSG tests?

"Hours of analysing snoring sounds have paid off for a group of researchers from The University of Queensland and Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Led by Dr Udantha Abeyratne from the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, the team has developed a non-invasive way of diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Caused by the collapse of the upper air passage during sleep, OSA is Australia's most common sleep disorder, affecting approximately 800,000 people.

Common symptoms include snoring, waking suddenly and daytime sleepiness and, if left untreated, it can lead to stroke, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

“OSA has snoring as the earliest symptom; almost all patients snore,” Dr Abeyratne said.

“We have developed several techniques to diagnose OSA using snoring sounds alone.

“Sounds are acquired through non-contact recording devices, and features are extracted.

“At present we are capable of screening OSA with 90 percent accuracy.

“These results are unmatched in the world in terms of the non-invasiveness and performance, and unequivocally illustrate the viability of a snore-based, non-contact OSA screening device.”

OSA is currently diagnosed using Polysomnography (PSG), which requires a full-night laboratory stay in a specifically equipped sleep suite, connected to more than 15 channels of measurements.

Dr Craig Hukins, director of the Sleep Laboratory at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, is a co-investigator on the project.

“PSG is inconvenient, expensive and is not suitable for mass screening of the population, especially children,” he said.

“The limited facilities around the world have created long waiting lists.

“There is an enormous clinical need for a simplified diagnostic instrument capable of convenient and reliable screening of OSA in a home setting.”

The home screening method designed by Dr Abeyratne's team is likely to be available within the next two to five years.

Funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant, the project was conducted in collaboration with the Princess Alexandra Hospital and the University of Tokushima, Japan.

In the future the team hopes to develop a method of monitoring the treatment of OSA.

“The standard treatment for OSA is home-based Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy,” Dr Hukins said.

CPAP keeps the upper airways open by applying air pressure through a nasal mask. The external
pressure prevents the upper airway from collapsing.

“However, no effective technique exists to measure the efficacy of the treatment in home-use," Dr Hukins said.

To solve this problem, Dr Abeyratne and his team have proposed developing technology centred on breathing sound analysis.

“The outcomes have the potential to revolutionise the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea,” he said.

Media: Dr Abeyratne (07 3346 9063, or Penny Robinson at UQ Communications (07 3365 9723,

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It sounds as promising as current home testing. I do not believe that anything they are trying to do is going to be as good as a psg. In my opinion they are trying to make it easier to reach more people with sleep related breathing problems. In doing so you are going to have to sacrifice certain things that can be seen on a psg. Easier does not always mean better.

When it comes to my own sleep, or the sleep of my family the psg is the best way to go. I know that alot of you might think that the lab based psg is a pain. Any home test is going to be up for scrutiny for a couple of reasons. First in a lab we can isolate you from any outside disturbances. This definately comes into play if you have a restless bed partner, children, or pets that disturb your sleep. We can also see spontaneous arousals, leg movements, and seizures. It seems to me that this test and the current home testing seem to only concentrate on the apneas. I do understand the importance of treating the apneas. I just believe that by settling for a inferior test that you may miss something in your Dx such as an irregular heart beat or seizures. These findings may be invaluable in getting you back to good health. A psg measures so much more than just how you are breathing. These new test seem to only concentrate on that part of it.

The final reason that I believe that a psg is better than any other test is the addition of the technician. Having someone to watch how you sleep is an invaluable asset to your sleep diagnosis. A proper sleep evaluation NEEDS someone to troubleshoot the problems that arise while you are sleeping. After all you can't do it. Your sleeping. This can be seen with the current home studies that are in place. You would be surprised by the number of people who, despite the education they are given, forget to turn the machine on. We talk all of the time here at SG about how the medical community looks at it's patients as being stupid or uneducated. I do not see this as being true. The truth of the matter is that the majority of our society is just average. By admission some of you have trouble with your remotes, DVDs, or stereos. I am no genius. There is technology in my own house that I do not understand. Let alone try to figure out a piece of diagnostic equipment that I have never seen before without having someone to walk me through it.

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