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Sleep Disorders Center

About Sleep Disorders

Almost one-third of the population in the United States has a sleep disorder, which can make sleeping, or waking hours miserable. People with disturbed sleep frequently have difficulty functioning in the daytime and may be unaware of any problem with their sleep. The Sleep Disorders Center at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center provides diagnostic services and treatment for a variety of sleep disorders.

Common Sleep Disorders

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea - This is caused by a temporary collapse of the airway. Loud snoring, with snorting or gasping, is a characteristic, as well as daytime sleepiness.
  • Central Sleep Apnea - This occurs when the brain fails to send a message to the diaphragm and other breathing muscles to initiate breathing during sleep. This can lead to disrupted sleep and daytime sleepiness.
  • Narcolepsy - This is an inherited disease associated with periods of extreme sleepiness, often beginning in young adulthood. A person with narcolepsy falls asleep regardless of the activity around him and may also have brief episodes of partial or total paralysis.
  • Nocturnal Myoclonus - This is a disorder involving frequent leg movements and leg jerks during sleep which disturb the sleep pattern and may even awaken the individual.
  • Insomnia - Difficulty initiating sleep or sustaining sleep are characteristics of insomnia resulting from a variety of disorders. Insomnia can be caused by psychological or physical problems.

Diagnosing the Problem

The sleep center provides diagnostic and educational services for patients and family. These diagnostic tests are performed by experienced staff, in a comfortable home-like atmosphere,to assess patients with medical conditions involving the sleep process.

Diagnostic procedures include:
Diagnostic Polysomnography
Polysomnography with CPAP titration
Multiple Sleep Latency Tests
Maintenance of Wakefulness Test
Daytime positive airway pressure desensitization

Polysomnogram assists in identifying obstructive and central sleep apnea syndrome, nocturnal hypoventilation, periodic limb movement disorder, documentation of sleep quality and quantity in patients being evaluated for possible neurologically mediated hypersomnia.

Multiple Sleep Latency Test is performed during the day following overnight polysomnography. This study evaluates patients with suspected narcolepsy and suspected idiopathic hypersomnia.

Maintenance of Wakefulness Test assesses an individuals ability to remain awake when his or her inability to remain awake constitutes a public or personal safety issue. It also assesses the response to treatment in patients with disorders of excessive sleepiness.

Positive airway pressure desensitization helps patients with difficulty adapting to positive airway pressure by allowing the patient to try various types of mask and pressure settings.

Treating a Sleep Disorder

Most of the disorders mentioned can be effectively treated once they have been accurately diagnosed. Some conditions require medications while others, such as obstructive sleep apnea, may require invasive procedures or the use of a device known as a nasal continuous positive airway pressure. This device is worn over the nose and keeps the airways open throughout the night.

Who Pays for Treatment?

Since sleep disorders are recognized as medical problems, many insurance carriers cover the cost of diagnoses and treatment. Individuals should check with their insurance carrier to determine their degree of coverage. WMHS assists patients with filing their insurance claims.

What should I expect when I arrive for treatment?

Patients scheduled for overnight studies generally arrive at the sleep center at approximately 8:30 or 9:30 pm. The patient will be encouraged to proceed with their normal bedtime routine including watching TV or reading. Throughout the night the technicians will remotely collect and monitor data pertaining to the patients sleep patterns.

The sleep center is in operation seven days a week. To schedule a sleep study talk to your physician, orcall 240-964-2800 for more information.