Restful sleep is one of the foundations of a healthy mind and body. If you often feel tired throughout the day or do not feel rested when you wake up, it could be a sign that you have a sleep-related breathing disorder! Disorders such as sleep apnea are more common than you might think, and often go undiagnosed. However, such disorders can lead to a myriad of health problems if they go undetected. At Apollo Cardiology, we offer the WatchPAT test to assess your sleep health!
What is a WatchPAT?
The WatchPAT is a device that uses peripheral arterial tonometry (PAT) to screen for and detect obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or central sleep apnea (CSA). This device was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August of 2008 with indications for use in screening and detecting sleep-related breathing disorders. Research in peer-reviewed medical journals has shown that the WatchPAT is an exceptionally useful device for testing and detecting obstructive or central sleep apnea, with a low failure rate, minimal technical effort, and a highly convenient method of use for patients. With the WatchPAT sleep study, the patient can easily take the device home and use it while sleeping. The WatchPAT will gather data about the patient’s breathing during sleep, which is then analyzed by a medical professional or sleep therapist to determine if the patient has obstructive or central sleep apnea or another sleep-related breathing disorder. The difference between obstructive and central sleep apnea is that, with OSA, the upper airway is entirely or partially blocked. With CSA, there is simply a lack of respiratory events due to an issue in the brain.
How does the WatchPAT work?
The WatchPAT is an easy and portable way to test for obstructive sleep apnea! To have the test, the patient only needs to take the WatchPAT home with them and then put it on while sleeping. There are three steps and three points of contact with the WatchPAT. The first step is to attach the chest sensor. Then, the second step is to strap on the WatchPAT bracelet onto the wrist of your non-dominant hand. Finally, the third step is to fit your index finger into the finger probe. Then, all you need to do is go to sleep!
As you sleep, the device utilizes a peripheral arterial tonometry (PAT) signal that mirrors any respiratory changes or disturbances with your breathing. The PAT signal measures the volume of arterial pulse waves, changes in which can mark arousal from sleep, the oxygen level in your blood, and more!
What does WatchPAT measure?
The WatchPAT has seven different channels that all make specific measurements! These seven measurements include the following:
- Actigraphy, or the monitoring of human rest and activity cycles, including REM sleep, real sleep time, sleep fragmentation, and sleep stages
- Body position
- Chest motion
- Heart rate
- Peripheral arterial tonometry (PAT)
- Pulse-oximetry, or the oxygen saturation level of the blood
Given all of these measurements, the WatchPAT can determine how well you score on various tests, such as the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), the central apnea-hypopnea index (AHIc), the respiratory disturbance index (RDI), and the oxygen desaturation index (ODI). The AHI and AHIc tests are scored based on how many complete breathing cessations, or apneas, and partial cessations, or hypopneas, occur per hour while you sleep. The RDI test is a score based on the severity of the apneas that is measured off of the effort induced when trying to get a breath.
If you think you might have sleep apnea and would like to have a WatchPAT test or learn more about WatchPAT tests, we would love to hear from you at Apollo Cardiology! Either call us at (314) 266-7684 or schedule an appointment through our website. You can find our office at 7733 Forsyth Blvd, on the 11th floor of Pierre Laclede building, in St. Louis, Missouri.