Detecting sleep apnea from home

Did you know ?

According to a report from the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, sleep apnea affects half of men and a quarter of women aged 40 to 85. The challenge for healthcare facilities to study this condition has led to the creation, by the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) and the University of Lausanne, of a specific test for detecting sleep apnea that is easy and less time-consuming.

Sleep apnea: mechanisms and risks

Sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) is a phenomenon of breathing cessation during sleep, lasting for a minimum of 10 seconds. In most individuals affected by SAS, breathing cessation or reduction can last up to 20 seconds. There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. The first corresponds to a complete obstruction of the airways, while the second involves a reduction in respiratory effort. However, the majority of people affected are unaware of this condition, even though it poses a major stress on the heart and brain.

5 identified risk criteria for sleep apnea

To better study this condition, the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) conducted an analysis of over 3000 individuals living in Switzerland and Brazil since 2013 to identify criteria for assessing the risk of sleep apnea. All these individuals were randomly selected from the population. From this study, 5 criteria emerged to identify early signs of SAS: neck circumference, BMI, sex, age, and snoring. The criteria are as objective as possible, except for snoring, to minimize judgment errors.

A reliable, readily available, and cost-effective test

Following this study, the CHUV created the « NoSAS » test, which is based on the 5 identified criteria and allows assigning a number of points to the provided responses. Once the score is obtained, a reliable diagnosis can be made, and the patient considered at risk or not. According to Dr. Raphael Heinzer, co-inventor of the test and researcher at CHUV: « The NoSAS is a diagnostic tool aimed at non-specialists in sleep medicine, such as general practitioners, anesthesiologists, or individuals who need to decide on the need for specialized testing. ». It is thus easier to diagnose individuals suffering from sleep apnea. In collaboration with the Geneva agency BeFine, a smartphone application has been created to facilitate screening. The “Lausanne NoSaS Score” application is available on iPhone and Android.

The “Lausanne NoSAS score” will help better target individuals suffering from sleep apnea and requiring more thorough and expensive examinations to confirm the presence of sleep apnea. This test also encourages the development of digital applications in the healthcare sector as a reliable and cost-effective aid to physicians’ diagnoses.