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The e-health program: A new approach to health care, by utilizing electronic technology, Part 11

The utilization of electronics in medical applications could effectively enhance the quality of life of patients and prevent many cardiovascular distresses: this is confirmed by the result of an observational study, about the CPAP device (acronym of Continuous-Positive-Airway-Pressure), conducted by medical staff of the respiratory departments of the University Medical Centers of Zaragoza and Palma de Mallorca, in Spain (see Figure 1):

Background: The effect of obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea as a cardiovascular risk factor and the potential protective effect of its treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is unclear. We did an observational study to compare incidence of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events in simple snorers, patients with untreated obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea, patients treated with CPAP, and healthy men recruited from the general population. Methods: We recruited men with obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea or simple snorers from a sleep clinic, and a population-based sample of healthy men, matched for age and body-mass index with the patients with untreated severe obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea. The presence and severity of the disorder was determined with full polysomnography, and the apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI) was calculated as the average number of apnoeas and hypopnoeas per hour of sleep. Participants were followed-up at least once per year for a mean of 10·1 years (SD 1·6) and CPAP compliance was checked with the built-in meter. Endpoints were fatal cardiovascular events (death from myocardial infarction or stroke) and non-fatal cardiovascular events (non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke, coronary artery bypass surgery, and percutaneous transluminal coronary angiography).

In conclusion , the results of this large, long-term, prospective controlled study suggest that in untreated men with severe obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea, the risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events is increased. There is a relation between the severity of this disease and cardiovascular risk, but effective treatment with nasal CPAP significantly reduces the cardiovascular outcomes associated with this medical condition.” (Source: “Long-term cardiovascular outcomes in men with obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea with or without treatment with continuous positive airway pressure: an observational study”, Authors: Jose M Marin, Santiago J Carrizo, Eugenio Vicente, Alvar G N Agusti )

Figure 1

The table of 'Incidence of cardiovascular events during the 10-year follow-up in healthy men, snorers, and patients untreated and treated for OSAH' and the 'Cumulative percentage of individuals with new fatal (A) and non-fatal (B) cardiovascular events in each of the five groups studied' of the case study about CPAP usage. (Source: 'Long-term cardiovascular outcomes in men with obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea with or without treatment with continuous positive airway pressure: an observational study', Authors: Jose M Marin, Santiago J Carrizo, Eugenio Vicente, Alvar G N Agusti )

 

The table of “Incidence of cardiovascular events during the 10-year follow-up in healthy men, snorers, and patients untreated and treated for OSAH” and the “Cumulative percentage of individuals with new fatal (A) and non-fatal (B) cardiovascular events in each of the five groups studied” of the case study about CPAP usage. (Source: “Long-term cardiovascular outcomes in men with obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea with or without treatment with continuous positive airway pressure: an observational study”, Authors: Jose M Marin, Santiago J Carrizo, Eugenio Vicente, Alvar G N Agusti )

 

The results of such an interesting study confirm the importance of a reliable and effective electronic CPAP device and this is the reason why many large companies in the field of electronics for medical applications have a wide portfolio of ICs that can be utilized in the CPAP (see Figure 2):

“Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) helps patients breathe by holding open the alveoli and preventing them from completely collapsing during expiration phases. The most important aspect in a CPAP system is the air flow control that needs to be adjusted to compensate for altitude, mask movements, and leaks as well as features including heated, humidified, airway respiratory support. ST’s motor control ICs help implement very accurate motion profiles with reduced acoustic noise to improve comfort to patient. In addition, we provide a range of MEMS motion, pressure and humidity sensors, high-performance STM32 microcontrollers as well as high-precision operational amplifiers and low-power regulators to help develop advanced CPAP ventilators.” (Source: STMicroelectronics)

Figure 2

Click here for larger image The block diagram of a CPAP with smart ICs integrated (Source: STMicroelectronics)

 

The block diagram of a CPAP with smart ICs integrated (Source: STMicroelectronics)

 

What are your thoughts regarding the utilization of electronics to make medical instruments more comfortable, reliable and effective?

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