The diagnosis of sleep apnea in children presents a challenging problem. The high prevalence (2-3%, World Health Organization Report, 2003) of sleep apnea poses a serious threat to the healthy growth and development of many children. The lack of oxygen during sleep can lead to daytime sleepiness, growth failure, heart failure, behavioural problems and developmental delay.
Polysomnography is the gold standard for the diagnosis of sleep apnea. This test requires a comprehensive sleep laboratory and the inconvenience of an overnight stay in the facility. It is highly resource intensive ($500-1000 per night in direct health care costs alone) and is confined to specialized facilities that limit availability for many children in Canada, especially those located remotely. While pulse oximetry is part of the standard of care for polysomnography, its potential to provide a stand alone sleep apnea screening and testing device has yet to be realized.
We aim to improve the sensitivity of overnight oximetry as a screening tool with the additional information extracted from pulse oximters. Our goal is to extract respiratory features, such as rate and pauses, and fuse this information with the heart rate variability to improve the diagnostic performance with the detection of arousal from sleep that may occur even without a decrease in SpO2.
The Phone Oximeter offers several advantages over polysomnography: this portable, in-home device will cause less sleep disturbance, facilitate a more natural sleep pattern, and provide the ability to monitor patients over multiple nights, while evaluating the response to sedative medication and other medical interventions. In addition, the ability of the Phone Oximeter to wirelessly communicate information (no delay in interpretation of results or response to critical events) offers a distinct advantage over traditional pulse oximeters.
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Electrical & Computer Engineering in Medicine (ECEM)
Pediatric Anesthesia Research Team, BC Children's Hospital
1L7-4480 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC Canada V6H 3V4
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