Jan. 30, 2001 New York, New York and Haifa, Israel, January 29, 2001 -- The Food and Drug Administration has approved a novel device that inexpensively and accurately screens for sleep apnea at home. Characterized by the temporary cessation of breathing during sleep, sleep apnea could affect as many as 18 million people in the United States alone, particularly men over the age of 35.
The patient fastens the 4-inch long plastic strip to his upper lip before bed. Three tiny temperature sensors attached to the strip record when the patient stops breathing, which in a sleep apnea sufferer can happen 200 to 300 times a night. In the morning, the patient removes the strip and returns it to the doctor who reads the results directly from the built-in display. The device is powered by a tiny eight-hour battery.
SleepStrip™ was developed at the Sleep Research Laboratory at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa by renowned sleep expert Dr. Peretz Lavie and Noam Hadas, head of research and development for SLP, a sister company of the laboratory. Researchers in Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Israel, Canada and the United States have used SleepStrip™ to successfully screen patients with sleep apnea after one-night tests.
"It's important to detect sleep apnea as soon as possible because it can be a precursor to hypertension, ischemic heart disease, heart attack and stroke," says Dr. Lavie, who heads the Technion Sleep Research Laboratory. "With SleepStrip™ we can scan entire segments of the population, such as severely obese people and those with high blood pressure."
The National Center on Sleep Disorders Research reports that as many as two to four percent of middle-aged American men and two percent of middle-aged American women suffer from sleep apnea. Only 10 percent of those with sleep apnea are actually diagnosed, according to the National Sleep Foundation. This may be due to lack of awareness of sleep apnea, as well as the inconvenience, lack of privacy, discomfort and expense of spending a night in a sleep lab, which can cost from $1,100 to $4,000. While the SleepStrip™ doesn't replace a night in a sleep clinic, the patent-pending device can identify patients who need to go to one.
Dr. Yosef Krespi, chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York, has tested more than 50 of the devices and says patients are responding favorably to it.
"Patients find the SleepStrip™ convenient and easy to use," Dr. Krespi says. "Most people don't like to be tested in a sleep laboratory overnight, and most sleep labs are located in hospitals, making it even more inconvenient. This device is inexpensive, reliable, small and disposable."
The Technion Sleep Research Laboratory has signed a marketing and distribution agreement with Influ-ENT, an Israel-based manufacturer and distributor of medical equipment. SleepStrip™ is available by prescription or can be bought from Influ-ENT by calling 1-800-564-7077 from the U.S. or Canada.
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