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WCSA2012 - #6 – Faces of sleep apnea

Posted Sep 07 2012 8:33pm
The last full day of the World Congress on Sleep Apnea began with a presentation by Dr. Josep Maria Montserrat of Barcelona with another vexing issue in sleep medicine – auto-titrating positive airway pressure devices. His presentation outlined the work he has done to understand the technology and how it can benefit the patient, particularly as a means of titrating the proper pressure to use with a PAP device.

One telling comment he made after mentioning that the algorithms for the different APAPs differ from one another and that they change from one generation of the device to the next without the manufacturer’s announcing the change. The technology has gotten ahead of the science, he said. I had heard this comment at another conference a number of years ago – it was troubling then and it remains  troubling now.
The second talk of the day, perhaps my favorite of the congress, was delivered by Dr. Meir Kryger of Yale. His talk was titled “Faces of Sleep Apnea.” Kryger has, by his count, treated 12,000 patients since 1972 when he started in the field of sleep medicine. His presentation consisted of pictures of sleep apnea patients he has treated over the years. Some of the faces were familiar typology for the OSA patients and some were not. Each image had a story and it was clear that he cared about each one. His talk reminded those present that the physical examination and the patient history are critical to getting to a diagnosis.

The congress ended without a clear statement on where the event would next be held. Pressure from the sponsors of these events to consolidate the number of sleep medicine conferences leaves the date of the next World Congress on Sleep Apnea open. Perhaps it is fitting that the last scheduled congress was held in the Eternal City, the place I call my spiritual home.
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