Sunday, June 24, 2018
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GMH study first step in eliminating another sleepless night

Snooze room relocated to quieter part of hospital.

With the exception of the sleep technician, Rick Hood didn’t see or hear another soul the night he spent at Gothenburg Memorial Hospital.

Hood climbed into a hospital bed the night of Nov. 18 to try and determine the cause of his sleeplessness.

About five years ago, the lathe-cut operator at Parker Tech Seal noticed problems with sleeping through the night.

“It got worse and my wife started telling me I was snoring more,” Hood said. “I became run down with little energy or motivation.”

Finally,the 50-year-old sought out his local doctor who prescribed an obstructive sleep apnea study at GMH. Sleep apnea is a common disorder where sleepers experience repeated episodes of not breathing during sleep for at least 10 seconds.

Hood showed up at the hospital at 9 p.m. on a Friday night and was hooked up to wires. They were attached to his face, head, neck, chest and legs by sleep technician Carol Cheetsos, who is also a registered nurse.

“There were more than what I expected. I kind of felt like Frank-enstein,” he said with a laugh.

The wires, or leads, took a awhile to get used to, Hood said, but after awhile he couldn’t tell they were there.

Cheetsos said the body is hooked to 25 leads that transmit information to a computer system. Patients must be hooked to the device for six hours for insurance to pay for the procedure, she noted.

During the outpatient sleep procedure, Cheetsos checks for decreased oxygen levels that can be related to sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and other disturbances.

On average, she said the hospital performs four to six sleep studies monthly. Results are sent to the CoxHealth Sleep Disorders Center in Springfield, MO, and read by Dr. David Cantral, a Kearney pulmonologist who is a visiting physician at GMH.

Cantral then prescribes treatment if needed.

To Cheetsos, one of the biggest risk factors in sleep deprivation is obesity.

During middle age, she said tissue in the neck becomes soft and cuts off the airway during sleep. People with thick necks also have more trouble with sleep apnea, Cheetsos said.

If apnea is diagnosed in patients, Cheetsos said they are often prescribed a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine that increases air pressure in the throat so a patient’s airway doesn’t collapse when breathing in.

About five disturbances in an hour of sleep are normal, she said, but patients with problems can experience as many as 90.

Although Hood didn’t sleep any better during the study, he said he was impressed with the quietness of the room which was “almost like a motel room.”

Cardiac rehabilitation director Myra Gronewold said GMH has offered the sleep study since 2001 but a new room, in the newly remodeled east wing, is now used.

“Before it was on the acute wing where you could see call lights and hear people during the night,” Gronewold said.

She said GMH began offering sleep studies at the encouragement of a visiting cardiologist. Patients traveled to places that offered the service which could be done at GMH, she said.

“And it’s such a prevalent condition,” she said, pointing to the more than 12 million Americans who are affected by sleep apnea. “Physicians are now more aware of the disorder.”

She noted that much of what medical staff sees in cardiac rehab patients can be contributed to poor sleep, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain and heart disease.

Hood said he is glad he could do the sleep study in Gothenburg.

“It made it so much easier being five minutes away from my house,” he said. “I was home shortly after 6:30 a.m.”

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