WESTCHESTER, Ill. – Sleep Technologist Appreciation Week 2008, Oct. 6 to 12, recognizes the valuable contributions of the allied health-care professionals who assist in the evaluation and follow-up care of patients with sleep disorders.
Sponsored by the American Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST), Sleep Technologist Appreciation Week 2008 will be recognized across the country by special events held at sleep disorders centers and laboratories for sleep-related breathing disorders. Sleep technologists work under the supervision of a licensed physician, providing assistance in assessing, monitoring and testing patients to evaluate, manage and prevent sleep-related disorders.
“Sleep technologists are dedicated to upholding the highest standards of safety and accuracy in the assessment and treatment of patients with sleep-related disorders,” said AAST President Jon Atkinson. “Their specialized training and expertise help improve the health and quality of life of sleep disorders patients.”
An estimated 50 million to 70 million people in the U.S. suffer from a chronic sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), narcolepsy or restless legs syndrome. If left untreated, a sleep disorder can have a detrimental effect on overall health and well-being; OSA has been linked to such problems as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
The “polysomnogram,” which is an overnight sleep study, is the primary way for a sleep technologist to evaluate a patient. It provides a quantitative measurement of a patient’s sleep by recording parameters such as brain waves, heart rate, breathing rate and oxygen levels, as well as eye, chin and limb movements. Many sleep technologists work the night shift, interacting directly with patients to initiate overnight polysomnography and to provide constant monitoring until morning.
Established in 1978, the AAST is the professional membership society for sleep technologists. The AAST advances the sleep technology profession by establishing professional standards, promoting standardized training and providing educational opportunities for more than 4,100 members.
To learn more about the AAST and Sleep Technologist Appreciation Week visit www.AASTweb.org.