Stress on more sleep labs at government hospitals

With a rising incidence of obstructive sleep apnoea, the sleep labs in government hospitals are seeing more number of patients than in previous years. In this context, doctors are stressing on the importance of installing more sleep labs in government hospitals as there are only a limited number of equipment in these labs at government hospitals.
Stress on more sleep labs at government hospitals
sleep labs


In Chennai, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital and Stanley Medical College and Hospital have sleep labs that are used to conduct studies on sleep disorders. One of the common sleep disorders is obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), which is a condition that occurs when throat muscles intermittently relax and block the airway during sleep. It causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep, causing obstructed sleep.
A sleep study is conducted to analyse the sleep disorder in an individual suffering from any type of sleep apnoea. The sleep study helps to determine the type of medical or clinical intervention required to treat a patient.
Sleep study costs an average of Rs 3-4 lakhs in a private hospital, therefore, there are a significantly greater number of cases being brought to government hospitals. “There are many patients seeking sleep study, however, we can only take up one study per day,’ said Dr N Suresh Kumar, ENT consultant, RGGGH. 
“In 2016, we had 22 patients at the sleep lab and that increased to 33 patients in 2017. We had around 30 patients in 2018 and 8 patients have been brought to the sleep lab at KMC till March 2019,” said Dr P Vasanthamani, dean, Kilpauk Medical College. Though the sleep lab can undertake one sleep study per day, however, the number of patients outnumber the availability.
The patients who come with complaints of snoring, fail to recognise it as a sleep disorder and do not undertake a sleep study. “A total of 58 patients underwent a sleep study in the past two years. Technical problems obstructed the studies for a while last year or we could have performed 20 more sleep studies. This year, we have performed five studies. There are more number of cases of OSA because of varied job patterns, food habits, obesity and sedentary lifestyle. More number of facilities would not only provide enough facilities but also prevent standstill of services in case of technical issues,” said Dr M Gowrishankar, ENT Chief at Stanley Medical College.

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