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“Wireless” Polysomnography?! - why do I see wires?

Sleep Guide friends,
I published this discussion below in our company blog site recently, but I thought it would make sense to post it here as well. (I am new to Sleep Guide, so I am hoping this not overstepping any sleep guide etiquette! Let me know if it is.)

See attached photo. At first glance, what do you see in this photo of my friend?

Wires. This struck me as odd (very odd), because my friend was undergoing a wireless polysomnography (sleep test used in sleep disorder diagnosis). To be fair, I already knew that a wireless polysomnography did not mean a polysomnography without wires/electrodes on the patient, nevertheless, I could not help but react at how the term "wireless polysomnography" did not match what I was seeing!

In this article, I want to briefly discuss:
1) A typical polysomnography (PSG)
2) Wireless polysomnography (what makes it wireless while I am seeing all those wires)
3) Some benefits of wireless PSG

The patient is hooked-up with sensors to monitor body functions like heart rhythm, brain, eye, and muscle movement, etc during sleep. The sensors plug into a patient-unit also called the jackbox. The jackbox connects to an amplifier, which then connects to the wiring system. The entire sleep lab is hard-wired so that the PSG data travels through the cables from the patient room into the control room, where a sleep technician can monitor the PSG data on a computer.

Wireless Polysomnography:
The patient is hooked-up with the standard sensors. The sensors plug into a patient-unit (which integrates the jack-box and amplifiers). The patient-unit wirelessly transmits data to a receiver in the control room where the sleep technician can monitor the PSG data on a computer. But why is this a big deal?

Benefits of wireless PSG
While wireless polysomnography is not flawless, it offers distinct advantages:

Un-tethered patient - convenient:
During a typical polysomnography, the patient will need assistance from the technician to unplug the jackbox from the amplifier every time he/she needs to use the restroom or get a drink of water during the night. A wireless polysomnography allows for easy mobility since the patient-unit is not tethered to the wiring cables of the control room.

No hard wiring – cost effective:
Wireless PSG completely eliminates the cost of running cables throughout the facility with its ability to transmit data through multiple walls. Also, there are typically fewer components with wireless devices and lower risk of individual component failure.

Portable PSG – cost-effective, convenient:
With wireless polysomnography, the entire PSG system can be packed into a brief-case of sorts. Setups outside of the lab become more feasible. For example, mobile diagnostic studies in hotels (which is more cost-effective than a sleep lab set-up), hospitals, nursing homes, or patient homes mean that a comprehensive sleep diagnostic service can come to the patient instead of the patient coming to the lab for a PSG. This cuts transportation costs which can be significant for patients who cannot travel unassisted.

Expanding the reach of sleep services:
Overcrowded sleep labs will only have to deal with more complex patients who require in-lab testing, while other patients can be tested off-site. Each patient population can then receive a faster diagnosis and therefore faster treatment initiation, cutting out the need for long waits or investing in additional beds for the sleep lab.

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Wireless means that the EEG box does not need to be plugged into a machine. This allows the pt to be able to move freely without having to be unhooked. Current technology can't isolate that many signals at once to allow for a complete wireless hook up.

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