MedSleep’s Northern Alberta Sleep Clinic Patient Experience

In this article, the staff of Medsleep’s Edmonton Clinic, the Northern Alberta Sleep Clinic, provides a detailed account of the experience of a patient undergoing an overnight in-lab Polysomnographic Sleep Test.  The staff of NASC, including Dr. Khullar, the Medical Director, and PSG Tech Afua Gyennin speak to the professional and thorough evaluation a patient experiences at NASC.

An analysis of the patient’s monitored home sleep found he has mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, the most common or more than 80 sleep disorders. It is characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing lasting from a few seconds to minutes and occurring five to 30 or more times an hour. The patient stopped breathing 21 times per hour. He also has a low normal baseline oxygen level.

Half the people who have sleep apnea don’t know it and don’t have the classic symptoms including snoring, chronic daytime tiredness, and using a lot of caffeine to stay awake, says psychiatrist Dr. Atul Khullar, the clinic’s medical director. “It can present as depression or high blood pressure or diabetes. It can be completely silent until you have a heart attack.

“That’s the interesting thing about sleep, it can be so variable.”

To better understand his sleep disorder, the patient agreed to an overnight sleep test called a polysomnogram in the clinic’s sleep lab. The home study is similar to an ultrasound as a diagnostic tool, Khullar explains, where the overnight test is more like an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), a more exact diagnostic test. He estimates 50-60 per cent of people with sleep disorders can be successfully treated after a home monitoring test.

Dr. Atul Khullar, Medical Director, Medsleep Alberta, MD MSc FRCPC (Psychiatry) DABPN (Cert. Sleep Medicine)

Dr. Khullar is a psychiatrist who specializes in the combined management of sleep, mood and anxiety disorders, as well as sleep apnea in non-traditional populations.

The article appeared in Edmonton Journal, May 29th, 2012.

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