Looking back at some of the most rewarding and sometimes humorous moments of my career in sleep medicine, a few stories can be retold.
Some though, must always remain secret.
The below are all true stories.
A life-changing treatment
The first patient that comes to mind was a cheerful, positive lady with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS).
She had been prescribed PAP therapy. She had an AHI of 60 (considered severe).
As a quadriplegic she had some specific challenges with PAP because:
- Covering her mouth meant that she could not use her mouth stylus or ‘stick’ which deprived her of:
- Her independence and control
- Her ability to communicate
- And practically, if she dislodged the mask, she could not replace it correctly
I became involved despite dental appliances, at the time, not being thought of much value for severe obstructive sleep apnoea.
The rationale being that any improvement in her OSA would be a good thing.
“It’s worth a punt” to see if a dental appliance could help…
Long story short:
A dental appliance reduced this lady’s AHI from 60 to 6 and ticked all the boxes in terms of her maintaining control and being able to communicate if/when she needed help.
(Technically, an AHI of 6 is just over what is considered ‘normal’ at 5. So, the perfectionist would perhaps say, that this was a less than perfect outcome).
If you asked the patient, she was delighted!
Much more alert and awake, and she had maintained her independence.
‘The Love Aid’.
While working in my previous business “Zacher Sleep Appliances”, I received a prescription for a dental appliance and written in large capital letters across the form were the words:
‘The Love Aid’.
I just had to ring the dentist to get the full story…
The dentist relayed that the patient was keen to get their dental appliance yesterday as their new relationship was at a ‘delicate’ stage.
Suffice to say, the patient chose to describe their soon to arrive dental appliance as a ‘love aid’.
Driving around all night to avoid sleeping…
A patient newly diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) [meaning they would fall asleep at any time without constant stimulus] was referred by a consultant physician for a dental appliance.
The patient said to the dentist they feared going to sleep because they felt their lungs would [in their own words]:
Before obtaining their custom-made dental appliance, their ‘solution’ had been to try and avoid sleeping altogether.
They chose to:
Drive around all night!
A terrifying thought when you consider they may have fallen asleep,
AT ANY MOMENT.
Here are some related snoring and sleep apnoea reviews and how-to’s.
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The updated NICE Guidelines for sleep apnoea have been published. Are they aspirational, unrealistic or a step in the right direction? What needs to change?
I propose we need medical guidelines to protect the medical profession, the dental profession and most of all the PATIENT.
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Created by Adrian Zacher | Page last updated 20th May 2020.