Monday, April 4, 2011
Cardiovascular disease can be detected earlier during sleep
A specially customised pulse oximeter attached to the finger can be used to detect changes in heart and vessel function while you sleep, and this simple technique can even identify patients at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, reveals research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. A pilot study of 148 people showed that more than 80% of high-risk patients were picked up by this simple and risk-free measurement technique. The results were published recently in the journal Chest. In the study, researchers used a modified version of the pulse oximeter currently used to detect various sleep disorders during the night, such as apnoea. The method is based on the measurement of five components of the signal from the finger: pulse wave attenuation, pulse rate acceleration, pulse propagation time, respiration-related pulse oscillation and oxygen desaturation. "We then weigh up these components in a model to assess how great a risk the patient runs of cardiovascular disease," says Ludger Grote, associate professor at the Center for Sleep and Vigilance Disorders at the Sahlgrenska Academy and senior consultant at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. "We believe that the patient's values reflect the risk at least as well as the individual's risk factors 'on paper'"