When someone is suspected of suffering from sleep apnea, they're often sent for a sleep study (also known as polysomnography). This involves their spending the night sleeping at a clinic, with numerous electrodes hard-wired to their head. There are diagnostic devices that they can use at home, although these can also be rather cumbersome. By contrast, the new SomnaPatch is quite simple and – according to the recently-released results of a study – almost as accurate as polysomnography.
Made by Mountain View, California-based startup Somnarus, the SomnaPatch weighs less than an ounce, and consists of a forehead-worn disposable adhesive patch connected to a nosepiece.
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Worn while the patient sleeps in their own bed, it uses integrated sensors to measure and record factors such as nasal pressure, blood oxygen saturation, heart rate, respiratory effort, sleep duration and changes in body position.
As part of its efforts to obtain US Food and Drug Administration approval, Somnarus conducted a study of the device at three US sleep clinics last year. This involved having 174 test subjects undergo standard polysomnography while also using the SomnaPatch. When the readings obtained by the two approaches were compared, they were found to be in agreement 87.4 percent of the time.
Additionally, a separate home usability study found that 38 out of 39 users were able to utilize the device to record at least four hours of sleep, guided by nothing but the included instructions.
There's currently no word on when the SomnaPatch may be available for general use.