KCI Introduces Software to Assist with OSA Screening

KCI Technology and Services, a provider of PC-based diagnostic equipment, announces the availability of Sleep Apnea Detection with the KCI Holter Monitor Analysis Software to enable screening of patients with potential Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a condition associated with increased morbidity and mortality.

Commonly used to identify cardiac arrhythmias, KCI Technology and Services' Holter analysis software incorporates sleep apnea screening as part of a standard 24-hour Holter scan. Early recognition and treatment of sleep apnea can prevent irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and sudden death.

OSA, the periodic cessation of breathing during sleep due to intermittent partial or complete upper airway obstruction, is a frequently undiagnosed condition affecting millions of people. The efforts to breathe will briefly wake the person to allow the airway to open and breathing to resume. The arousal from sleep is associated with sudden marked increases in heart rate and blood pressure. When the patient returns to sleep, the airway will tend to obstruct again, resulting in recurrent apneas, occurring from 10 to 60 times per hour throughout the night. The recurrent apneic periods, accompanied by hypoxemia, cause a variety of cardiac arrhythmias leading to increased risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as non-cardiac symptoms such as daytime somnolence, inattentiveness and depression.

OSA is typically diagnosed with an overnight hospital or sleep center stay using polysomnography (PSG), which is the recording of multiple physiological signals during sleep. PSG involves a large capital investment in equipment, bed space and specialized technical support. Interpretation of test results is complex and time-consuming, with the overall cost estimated at $1,000 to $1,200 per procedure.

The KCI Holter Analysis Software was developed as a screening tool to assess apneic breathing and also can be used to relate apneas to cardiac arrhythmias. Screening for OSA during a standard 24-hour holter scan allows the practitioner to refer only those patients with documented increased probability of OSA for the high-priced, overnight, PSG, while also identifying patients who might otherwise go undiagnosed.

This article originally appeared in the April 2006 issue of HME Business.

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