PGH Brings Sleep Center In-House

December 1, 2010

The month of December marked the opening of PGH's in-house sleep center, which was previously contracted with SleepHealth. PGH Sleep Center is now headed by Director of Cardiopulmonary Services Jill Johnson, RRT. Board-certified sleep medicine physician Dr. Ram K. Puri, M.D. serves as the center's medical director, and Katie Hill, RPSGT and Adrianne Leonard, CRT complete PGH's sleep team as staff sleep technologists. Both Katie and Adrianne are specially trained in all aspects of sleep technology, including performing pediatric studies. Children as young as 15 months are able to be diagnosed and treated for many childhood related sleep problems at PGH, and the center also specializes in caring for geriatric, disabled, bariatric, and other special needs patients. Careful attention is given to treating each patient as an individual, with a compassionate and empathetic touch.

All sleep studies are performed in one of the two sleep suites, which are designed to create a home-like atmosphere with soft earth tones, comfy beds, flat screen televisions, bedside lamps, recliners, laminate flooring, and area rugs. Each suite features an exclusive full bath for patient comfort and privacy.

When a patient's doctor orders an initial study to diagnose a disorder such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome or periodic limb movement disorder, or various other sleep-related problems, the patient is scheduled to stay all night at the center. Non-invasive monitoring equipment records EEG (brain activity), EKG, EMG (muscle activity), respiratory effort, oxygen saturation levels, and several other vital parameters. The collected data is interpreted by Dr. Puri, and the resulting report is sent to the patient's physician to determine the next appropriate step. Possible outcomes include referrals to other medical specialists such as ENT physicians, cardiologists, pulmonologists, or neurologists. If additional information is needed to determine the best course of treatment, the physician may order a repeat sleep study. During this second night at the sleep center, under the physician's order, technologists may apply CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) or bilevel airway pressure, supplemental oxygen, or other therapeutic interventions.

After all the sleep tests are completed and the final results shared with the patient and referring physician, durable medical equipment may be needed to treat such disorders as obstructive sleep apnea or upper airway resistance syndrome. PGH Cardiopulmonary Services staff respiratory therapists continue to offer a full line of CPAP/bilevel units and supplies for home use through their DME (durable medical equipment) program. All of the respiratory therapists share the common goal of providing each patient with quality care to assure their comfort and compliance with their prescribed course of treatment.

The Sleep Center will have an official open house in the near future, and the team plans to obtain accreditation for the center through the American Academy of Sleep Medicine over the next year. For more information on the PGH Sleep Center, please contact Cardiopulmonary Services at ext 2130 or 2132. To learn more about sleep disorders, visit http://www.sleepeducation.com/Default.aspx or www.sleepapnea.org.