Those who suffer from sleep apnea or who have difficulty breathing at night will be able to sleep soundly with the development of AutoSet? technology, which uses a new advance in continuous positive airway pressure therapy. A patient’s breathing is monitored on a breath-by-breath basis, with pressure adjusted automatically in response to the severity of flow limitation, snoring and/or apnea.
Sleep-disordered breathing refers to conditions where apneas and hypopneas are present during sleep. The most common form of these is obstructive sleep apnea, but sleep-disordered breathing can also be experienced by patients with impaired chest wall or neuromuscular function, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Previously, the best therapy for people suffering from sleep-disordered breathing, was Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy, which maintained a constant and slightly elevated airway pressure throughout the night. However, despite the fact that the patient may only require that particular pressure for a short period of time, they would receive it all night, which can be uncomfortable for the patient. The development of AutoSet? technology or Automatic Positive Airway Pressure (APAP) monitors the patient on a breath-by-breath basis, which allows pressure levels to be adjusted automatically as required. This results in the patient receiving only the minimum air pressure needed for effective therapy.
The device works by preemptively increasing airway pressure in response to inspiratory flow limitation, which typically precedes snore and obstruction, thus preventing sleep apnea and obstruction. However, apneas can occur suddenly without being preceded by flow limitation or snoring. They may be associated with sleep onset, change in body position, or REM (Rapid Eye Movement) onset. In these instances, AutoSet will act to overcome the event by increasing pressure in relation to the severity of the apnea, and then by gradually reducing the pressure back to a minimum level.
The efficacy of the AutoSet technology is the algorithm, which can respond to the severity of three parameters. The greater the flow limitation, the louder the snoring or the longer the apnea, the greater pressure delivered. The algorithm is able to deal with each of these parameters individually, which allows for minimum interruptions to sleep, and results in a mean pressure typically 37% less than fixed pressure therapy. The AutoSet algorithm monitors the inspiratory flow-time curve of the patient for each breath, comparing it to a normal breath, and adjusting the pressure only the required amount to maintain the patient’s airflow and restore the curve to normal.
AutoSet technology has been clinically validated. Its ability to both measure and respond to flow limitation, snoring and apnea is unique within the field of sleep-disordered breathing therapy. The onboard memory is able to record 30 days worth of sleeping, which can then be downloaded and analysed. It is light and portable, so patients can maintain their treatment even when traveling. Newer models have an optional integrated humidification system for patients that require heated humidification. A novel variant has also been designed to treat Cheyne-Stokes respiration in patients with congestive heart failure, with initial trials in the US, UK and Europe showing promising results.
With AutoSet? technology, patients suffering from sleep-disordered breathing can wake up feeling relaxed and refreshed.
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