At Sleep Center Hawaii, we are not only following the recommendations by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), and the AASM (American Academy of Sleep Medicine), but exceeding them by:

  • Daily sanitizing and disinfecting (that is the closest to sterilizing) each CPAP machine
  • Staggering patients, so each patient will be led directly into their assigned sleep study room
  • Only one patient will wait In waiting room, any additional day clinic, patients will wait in sleep study rooms.
  • We screen patients at the door (questionnaire, measuring temperature)
  • We wipe all blood pressure cuffs, electrodes, belts, etc. with sanitizer
  • We wipe all surfaces frequently with sanitizer
  • All CPAP masks/interfaces get disinfected twice

Sleep Centers are safe!

Today, January 20th, 2021, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine COVID taskforce published the following good news:
“We are unaware of any known COVID-19 outbreaks associated with care provided by sleep centers. Therefore, the mitigation strategies that sleep labs and practices have been implementing appear to be promoting patient and staff safety.”

CPAP is good for your health!

CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is the most successful treatment for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), consisting of  breathing pauses during sleep associated with lower blood oxygen levels, and stress to your body.

Upper Airway Infections, such as those associated with “COVID 19”, or “coronavirus”, are also associated with stress to your lungs and body, and lower blood oxygen levels.

Having both, though it has not been proven scientifically (very recent pandemic), likely is  “Double Trouble”.

While currently there is no effective treatment if you have COVID 19 except for supportive care, fever and pain reduction, and invasive ventilation in severe cases, there has been over 30 years of research showing the beneficial effects of CPAP on blood oxygenation, sleep quality, and overall health and well being.

The scientific name for CPAP and BiPAP treatment is “Non Invasive Positive Pressure Ventilation” (NIPPV). It may be described as a gentle ventilator keeps blood oxygen within normal limits in most cases, and allows for normal sleep architecture.

Another problem with having sleep apnea is the often severe sleep fragmentation (“broken up sleep”) associated with OSAS. Almost every time there is a pause in breathing, the body has to wake up briefly to catch its breath, and survive. This may happen several hundred times a night, and usually leads to a decrease/lack of the “deep” sleep stages (Slow Wave Sleep), and REM sleep. It is during these sleep stages that immune function gets strengthened, and cells get repaired. Missing these specific sleep stages may lead to decreased  protection against disease and infections.

Bottom line:

  • If you are a current CPAP user, please use it!
  • If you have breathing pauses, snore, and are tired during the day (symptoms of sleep apnea), please get diagnosed and treated!
  • Please sleep enough (7 to 8 hours/night).

This message is brought to you by Medical Director of Sleep Center Hawaii, and Guam Sleep Center Dr. Gabriele M. Barthlen, M.D., Ph.D., former director of the sleep labs at Mount Sinai Medical Center, and New York Hospital (Cornell) in New York.

Patient and staff guidelines regarding Philips Respironics recall of PAP machines

Dr. Barthlen’s (ABSM Board Certified Sleep Specialist), opinion is:

  • The benefits of PAP treatment outweigh the risks
  • Cleaning devices such as “So Clean” increase risks

She recommends the following:

  1. Discontinue your cleaning devices (such as so clean)
  2. Check with our primary care provider as to possible discontinuation of your PAP machine.
  3. Note that the side effects were generally mild and not life threatening (headaches, asthma, chest pain), and occurred in only 0.03% of patients. That is three in 10,000. The more serious side effects like possible carcinogenicity are, in my opinion, listed based on lawyer’s precautionary verbiage. If you read the possible side effects of most  prescription medicines, the listed side effects are usually much more serious.
  4. We recommend that patients with PAP machines older than 3 years, and those that show “black debris”, should discontinue using that older machine, and get a replacement.
  5. We can write a prescription for replacement for our patients; check with our office staff. You may also ask your primary care provider to write the prescription. Phillips Respironics is still ironing out the replacement program details, which will allow consumers affected by the recall to file a claim for product replacement. We will continue to update as more information from the manufacturer becomes available.
  6. PAP users should replace accessories, such as mask, tubing, and water chamber.

Further Information:
AASM Information
Philips Respironics Information
Philips Respironics FAQs

Dr. Gabriele Barthlen

Meet Our Providers

Gabriele M. Barthlen, MD, PhD