Study: Somnarus’ disposable patch detects sleep apnea

Somnarus' sleep apnea-detecting patch could be an alternative to sleep monitors that are tricky to use and can disturb patients' sleep. (Somnarus)

Sleep diagnostics player Somnarus presented data this weekend showing that its disposable adhesive patch effectively detected obstructive sleep apnea of all severity levels. The patch could be an alternative to portable sleep monitors currently used to diagnose the disorder.

The SomnaPatch device is placed on the forehead and has a piece that fits over the nose. It weighs less than 1 ounce and records nasal pressure, blood oxygen saturation, pulse rate, respiratory effort, body position and how long a patient is asleep.

The 174-patient study, presented at SLEEP 2017, the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, showed that results from the SomnaPatch agreed with results from standard in-lab polysomnography 87% of the time. Polysomnography is a type of sleep study that records changes in the body that happen during sleep, such as brain waves, blood oxygen level and heart rate.

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"Our study provided clinical validation of a new wearable device for diagnosing sleep apnea," said principal investigator and Somnarus CEO Maria Merchant, Ph.D., in a statement. "It was most surprising to us how well this inexpensive miniature device performed in comparison with in-lab sleep studies."

A separate study found that 38 of 39 patients were able to collect at least four hours of sleep data at home, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine said in the statement.

"Most home sleep diagnostic devices are difficult for patients to use and are disruptive to patient's sleep," Merchant said. "Our study showed that this wearable home sleep monitor is very comfortable, easy to use and does not negatively affect sleep."

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VitalConnect, which also presented data at SLEEP, markets a disposable adhesive patch that tracks eight vital signs, including posture, heart rate and skin temperature. The startup recently raised $33 million to expand commercialization of the VitalPatch, which integrates vital sign data into a cloud-based platform to be viewed by healthcare professionals on a computer or mobile device. VitalConnect presented data from a 45-patient study comparing its VitalPatch with polysomnography that showed it performed well in screening sleep architecture.

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