Respiratory Disturbance Index
Our specialists suggest that different severities of sleep apnoea can be treated differently. The RDI (Respiratory Disturbance Index) refers to the number of times you stop breathing in one hour averaged out across the night as determined by a sleep study.
New research has highlighted that the severity scale might need adapting for women with sleep apnoea. It is likely that even five events per hour can affect a women’s wellbeing enough to warrant CPAP treatment and this could also be the case for some men.
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Systems
CPAP is the term generally used to describe positive airway devices.
CPAP is a simple concept consisting of an air pump and a mask which are connected by a tube. The device takes air from the room and gently pressurises it. The pressure of the air keeps the throat open while you are asleep.
Modern CPAP machines are very quiet and generally will not disturb your sleep; in fact they allow you to achieve better quality and more sleep.
Types of Treatments
CPAP Fixed Presure
Fixed pressure devices are the original technology for treating obstructive sleep apnoea. This device gently increases air pressure to a single set level and remains at that pressure for the night.
The level of pressure is determined by an overnight diagnostic and titration study in a sleep lab or by temporary use of an Automatic CPAP device.
APAP (Automatic Positive Airway Pressure)
The APAP automatically titrates air pressure depending on the current state of the airway. When the airway collapses (an apnoea occurs) it is detected by the flow sensor in the APAP which then responds by gently increasing the air pressure to reopen the airway.
The APAP then drops the pressure away when the apnoea has stopped. This increase and decrease of pressure continues through out the night to treat apnoeic events and keep the pressure minimal to ensure a good nights sleep.
Bilevel or VPAP devices are designed to treat more complicated sleep-breathing disorders such as central sleep apnoea or Cheyne Stokes respiration.
You can obtain a mandibular splint from your dentist or a similar product designed for short term use from National Clinical Services or your chemist, to treat mild sleep apnoea.
The splint is similar to a mouth guard and is worn while sleeping to hold your bottom jaw forward therefore opening your airway.
If you are unsure whether to treat your sleep apnoea or about your treatment options you can speak with your specialist or sleep clinician.
These professionals have useful information and can point you in the right direction. At Acacia Sleep and Respiratory we welcome inquiries from our own patients and other interested people.
Given some of our practices are regional, we are happy to organise telehealth conferencing for our patients to speak with the specialist who composed their sleep study report.