If you’re already the kind of person wearing a health tracker like a FitBit, the adaptation of these to help diagnose sleep apnea could have big benefits. But what if you’re not already using that kind of device? What medical technologies might help you get a quick and easy diagnosis of your sleep apnea?

In the near future, a small, disposable patch may do that for you. Early studies in support of an application for FDA approval seem to be going well.

mature man sleeping on white pillow in bed

There’s a Patch for That

The new technology is called SomnaPatch. It weighs less than one ounce, and it records nasal pressure, blood oxygen saturation, pulse rate, respiratory effort, sleep time, and body position to support sleep apnea diagnosis. The effectiveness of the device was tested by having it record data alongside simultaneous polysomnography in 174 subjects. The results showed that the clinical agreement between the patch and the polysomnography data was 87.4%.

Of course, the benefit of this device comes when people are able to use it at home to diagnose their sleep apnea without having to go to a doctor. Researchers noted that some home sleep tests can be hard to use. But that’s apparently not the case with SomnaPatch. In a different study, people sent home with the device and just the packaging instructions were able to use it successfully. A total of 38 out of 39 subjects (97.4%) placed the patch, activated it, and recorded at least four hours of sleep data.

With its high effectiveness and its ease in use, it seems likely to get approval (or clearance) from the FDA.

Not as Diverse an Application

Of course, we’ve already started the comparison with the health tracker concept, so we should follow through and compare the two proposals in terms of their utility. The patch seems like it’s got a fairly narrow application. It is, essentially, just another home test for sleep apnea. The effectiveness and ease of use make it an appealing one, especially for routine monitoring of the results of treatment with CPAP or an oral appliance.

On the other hand, a health tracker could do that as well. And it could be used to monitor how the results of sleep treatment impacted the health of a person during the day. It could easily integrate data with other health interventions. But the advantage disappears if a person isn’t normally wearing a health tracker.

Easy Diagnosis Should Lead to More Treatment

With either of these technologies, the hope is that easy diagnosis will lead to more diagnosis of sleep apnea. This would definitely be helpful, since the vast majority of sleep apnea sufferers are still undiagnosed.

And once people get diagnosed with such ease, they’ll probably want a sleep apnea treatment that is just as convenient and easy to use. And when it comes to sleep apnea treatments, nothing is more convenient than oral appliance therapy.

If you’re looking to learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea in Omaha, please call (402) 493-4175 today for an appointment with a sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.