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ResMed collaborates with ST to address sleep apnea

Posted: 08 Nov 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:32bit microcontroller? sleep apnea? medical electronics? MEMS?

In a technology partnership with STMicroelectronics, ResMed Ltd, a medical device vendor specializing in respiratory disorders, recently launched a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device to address sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea occurs due the closure of the airway during sleep which causes breathing to stop, sometimes for more than a minute, dropping the oxygen level in the body. The brain then wakes up slightly to open up the air passage, after which the person goes back to sleep. This may happen many times each night thereby affecting the quality of sleep and leading to long-term health risks, such as increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Sleep Apnea

Figure 1: The diagrams show, left to right, a healthy upper airway, a partially obstructed airway and a blocked airway.
Source: ResMed Ltd

Dr. Ignatius Mark Hon Wah

Dr. Mark: Over 30 percent of the Asian population may have sleep apnea and 80 percent may not even know it.

The symptoms of sleep apnea include fatigue, depression, poor concentration/memory and waking with a headache or dry sore throat. While many people perceive snoring as a common and harmless problem, it can be a clear symptom of this condition. Over 80 percent of sufferers with moderate-to-severe sleep apnea are thought to be undiagnosed and untreated.

Dr. Ignatius Mark Hon Wah, consultant ENT surgeon and director of sleep services, Ascent Ear Nose Throat Specialist Group, estimates that sleep apnea is fairly common in Asia and often underestimated because a significant number of cases go unreported. He estimates that over 30 percent of the region's population has sleep apnea.

Among various treatment options is a symptomatic relief delivered through a CPAP device. A doctor prescribes CPAP along with custom settings for parameters like pressure and humidity. The S9 is claimed to be a major step forward because of its ease of use, low noisespecified at 24dBA, which according to Brett McLaren, regional clinical specialist, Asia Pacific, ResMed, is lower than a typical central air-conditioning hum. Older machines would look and sound like vacuum cleaners, which barely achieved the results of providing an environment for sound sleep.


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