Image: New research shows a 3D position sensor helps OSA pateints sleep better (Photo courtesy of NightBalance).
An innovative sleep position trainer (SPT) prompts patients not to sleep on their back, thus helping to prevent Positional Obstructive Sleep Apnea (POSA).
The NightBalance (The Hague, The Netherlands) SPT is a small, lightweight device placed around the chest, inside a pocket in a neoprene strap which is be closed with a Velcro tab. Placed on the sternum, the device measures patient orientation using a three-dimensional (3D) digital accelerometer. The measurements are used to define the posture of the user: left side, right side, supine, prone, or upright. When in the supine position, the device emits a vibration stimulus, which provides feedback to the user.
The device continues to vibrate with a gradually increasing strength and stimulus duration, until a non-supine position is detected. If the patient does not react to the stimulus, the vibrations are paused and then reinitiated after two minutes respite. The SPT is provided with an internal memory that stores sleep posture data for a period of at least 90 days. A USB port is used to communicate the data to a personal computer for analysis, and also to recharge the integrated battery.
The SPT, which is prescribed by sleep specialists, ear, nose and throat specialists, and pulmonologists, also incorporates a “Comfort Program” that helps the patient get used to sleep in a non-supine position by gradually reducing the amount of supine sleep. For the first two nights, the SPT only measures the sleep behavior; from the third to the tenth night, the SPT slowly builds up the amount of feedback incrementally, helping to improve patient acceptance and compliance.
“The Sleep Position Trainer is an inventive and innovative positional therapy with promising clinical results both in reducing the severity of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, and in increasing patients’ satisfaction, with a remarkably high adherence to the therapy,” said Professor Olivier Vanderveken, MD, of Antwerp University Hospital (UZA; Belgium), who led the SPT clinical study. “To add the SPT to the therapeutic options for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome will clearly increase the overall effectiveness of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome treatment.”
In OSA, the muscles in the throat close in and block the airway during sleep. These gaps in breathing cause blood pressure to go up, because the oxygen level in the body falls and the brain sends signals to the blood vessels to contract so that oxygen flow to the heart and brain is increased. CPAP is the most commonly prescribed treatment for OSA, involving a mask worn during sleep that pumps air to help prevent the airway from closing.
Antwerp University Hospital