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Detection and Assessment of Sleep-Disordered Breathing with Special Interest of Prolonged Partial Obstruction

Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesisCollection of Articles


Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTampere
PublisherTampere University of Technology
Number of pages77
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-15-3556-7
ISBN (Print)978-952-15-3531-4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sep 2015
Publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Publication series

NameTampere University of Technology. Publication
PublisherTampere University of Technology
ISSN (Print)1459-2045


Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) has become more common and puts more strain on public health services than ever before. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and its health consequences such as different cardiovascular diseases are nowadays well recognized. In addition to OSA, attention has recently been paid to another SDB; prolonged partial obstruction. However, it is often undiagnosed and easily left untreated because of the low number of respiratory events during polysomnography recording. This patient group has found to present with more atypical subjective symptoms than OSA patients.

Polysomnography (PSG) is considered to be the gold standard in reference methods in SDB diagnostics. PSG is a demanding and laborious multichannel recording method and often requires subjects to spend one night in a sleep laboratory. There is long tradition in Finland to use mattress sensors in SDB diagnostics. Recently, smaller electromechanical film transducer (Emfit) mattresses have replaced the old Static Charge-Sensitive Bed (SCSB) mattresses. However, a proper clinical validation of Emfit mattresses in SDB diagnostics has not been carried out.

In this work, the use of Emfit recording in the detection of sleep apneas, hypopneas, and prolonged partial obstruction with increased respiratory effort was evaluated. The general aim of the thesis is to develop and improve the diagnostic methods for sleep-related breathing disorders.

Comparisons with both PSG with nasal pressure recording and transesophageal pressure were made. Special attention was paid to the existence of the spiking phenomenon in the Emfit mattress in relation to changes in negative intrathoracic pressure in estimating increased respiratory effort. This entails monitoring the esophageal pressure as a part of nocturnal polysomnography. The recording method is demanding and uncomfortable and is usually not used with ordinary sleep laboratory patients. Thus, reliable and easy indirect quantification methods for respiratory effort are needed in clinical work. According to the results presented in this work, the Emfit signal reveals increased respiratory effort as well as apneas/hypopneas.

To find out the prevalence and consequences of prolonged partial obstruction among sleep laboratory patients was another aim of this thesis. This was done by retrospective analyses of sleep laboratory patients from one year. The prevalence of patients with prolonged partial obstruction was 11%. They were as sleepy as OSA patients, but their life quality was worse, as assessed by a survey. These results, along with the findings of the heart rate variation evaluation carried out in this thesis, suggest that prolonged partial obstruction and OSA should be considered as different entities of SDB.

With the Emfit mattress sensor, the SDB types can be differentiated, which is expected to enhance the accuracy of diagnostics. However, there is increasing need for easy and cheap screening methods to evaluate nocturnal breathing. In this respect, the usability of compressed tracheal sound signal scoring in SDB screening was estimated. The method reveals apneas and hypopneas but, according to the present findings, it can also be used in the detection of prolonged partial obstruction. The findings encourage the use of compressed tracheal sound analysis in screening different SDB.

The analysis of sleep recordings is still based on a doctor’s subjective and visual estimation. To date, no generally accepted and sufficiently reliable automatic analysis method exists. Robust, automatic quantification methods with easier techniques for non-invasive sleep recording would enable the analysis methods to be also used for screening purposes. In this technology-orientated world, people could take much more responsibility and take care of themselves better by following their own biosignals and by changing their health habits earlier. The need for good sleep as a necessity for good life and health is widely recognized.

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Field of science, Statistics Finland

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