The Sleep Disorders Center at Saint Francis Medical Center introduced comprehensive sleep studies to the region. Staffed by technicians who are credentialed by the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists, the Sleep Disorders Center assesses each patient through various measures that may include:
- Electrocardiogram (EKG) – measures heart rhythm
- Electroencephalography (EEG) – measures global neural activity
- Electromyography (EMG) – measures muscle activity and limb movement
- Electrooculogram (EOG) – measures eye movement
- Piezoelectric belt – measures respiratory effort
- Pulse oximetry – measures oxygen saturation
- Thermistor or pressure transducer – measures nasal and/or oral airflow
The assessment aids in diagnosing and treating common sleep disorders such as:
Sleep apnea (a common disorder experienced by approximately 5 percent of Americans) occurs when airways collapse and breathing stops for a short while during sleep.
Narcolepsy (a lifelong brain disorder involving the brain's inability to regulate sleep and wakefulness) is most commonly diagnosed in the teen years and thought to be hereditary and possibly environmentally affected. Symptoms of narcolepsy may include temporary lack of muscle control while excited, vivid dreams upon falling asleep/awaking, and brief inability to move or talk upon waking.
Periodic limb movement of sleep
Periodic limb movement of sleep is characterized by involuntary muscle spasms in the legs that occur while asleep.
Restless leg syndrome
Restless leg syndrome is a deep creeping or crawling sensation in the legs that causes an urge to move them when awake.
Following diagnosis and development of a treatment plan, the Sleep Disorders Center provides patients with educational and support services such as one-on-one counseling sessions, AWAKE (Alert, Well and Keeping Energetic) support sessions and the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Follow-up Clinic for those sent home with breathing aids.
The Sleep Disorders Center was the first laboratory in Southeast Missouri to receive a Certificate of Accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. To earn accreditation, Saint Francis demonstrated it employs skilled and experienced sleep specialists, provides a comfortable sleep lab environment and develops individualized treatment plans tailored to the unique diagnosis of each patient.