By Timothy Cox
A new sleep lab at Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater is set to open Wednesday.
The lab, called SleepCare of Mercer County Community Hospital, is an outpatient clinic that can pinpoint, analyze and treat faulty sleep patterns and sleep disorders. The hospital is contracting with Sleep Care Inc. to provide all the necessary staffing and equipment to run the sleep center. The Columbus-based company runs 10 sleep labs in hospitals across the state.
The hospital's board of governors voted in April to develop a sleep lab. The hospital's medical staff also supported the idea. The deal with SleepCare was reached in June.
The lab, located in previously unused space on the hospital's third floor, includes two private bedrooms equipped with telephones and televisions to increase patient comfort. Sleep studies, which are painless, involve a polysomnographic technician using advanced technology to record up to 30 different variables while a patient snoozes. The technicians monitor heart and brain activity, muscle and eye movement, and breathing.
A sleep study includes not only the initial diagnostic testing but also patient education and follow-up care. Family doctors can recommend sleep studies based on a patient's past history and symptoms. After sleep data is gathered in the lab, the test results are interpreted and a treatment plan is crafted by a sleep specialist.
"Approximately 40 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep disorder," Dr. Mustafa Quadri, a board-certified sleep specialist and the medical director of the new SleepCare lab said in a news release. "Sleep apnea is the most frequently diagnosed sleep disorder. Prolonged sleeping problems can often lead to excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue. Additionally, low oxygen levels during sleep apnea can lead to various cardiovascular disorders."
There are about 80 identified sleep disorders. Sleepwalking, often depicted as a common disorder on television and in the movies, is actually rare in adults and will not be a focus of the sleep lab, Quadri said. The lab is intended to serve patients 12 and older.
Utilization studies. done while hospital officials were researching the idea of a sleep lab, show at least 200 sleep studies were likely during the first year of services. That would be enough to make the venture profitable, hospital CEO T.J. Padden said. In a best-case scenario, the lab would serve as many as 400 patients the first year.
SleepCare has its own telephone extension at the hospital, 419-678-ZZZZ (9999).