Sleep apnea syndrome is regarded as a risk factor for traffic accidents because it leads to excessive daytime sleepiness. A fiber optic sensor based on optical fibers for sleep apnea syndrome has been tested in a clinical application varying in age from 13 to 78 years. Such a fiber sensor is perfect for preliminary sleep apnea syndrome screening because its respiratory disturbance index corresponds well with the apnea-hypopnea index.
The promising application of such fiber optic sensors includes a screening of patients suffered from the SAS during standard sleep at home. Moreover, the process of downsizing the optical fiber sensors results in the connection between PSG and pulse oximetry. The fiber sensor can be used to examine sleep apnea syndrome in children (2 – 12 years) providing improved pediatric analysis.
It should be noted that the novel fiber optic technology provides more accurate SAS results compared to the traditional sensing system. Additionally, the developed optical fiber sensor is considered to be non-invasive and non-restrictive, also it is quiet and compact, therefore, it is highly useful for the process of SAS screening during conventional sleep at home.
Fiber optic sensors provide a promising application for screening latent patients who suffered from sleep apnea syndrome during normal sleep. Optical fibers in such sensing systems are narrower and wider within several centimeters. Researchers use commercially affordable optical fibers for SAS screening. The operating principle of fiber sensors is based on the measurement of the deviation of output optical power from an optical fiber sheet by micro-bending loss and/or bending loss.
Significant benefits of fiber optic sensing systems include no need for a patient to use any specific clothing or devices because the measurement results are transmitted to a remote place for further analysis and diagnosis. “The deviation in the output optical fiber power from the POF sheet due to micro-bending loss and/or bending loss caused by the lateral pressure change created by the motion of the person’s chest during respiration is measured.”
Also, the researchers have designed a multi-channel fiber optic sensor and applied it in a hotel, full medical check-up and clinical test in pediatrics. The fiber optic sensing system demonstrated 38/42 42 examinees had Pro-AHI > 5 and were suspected of sleep apnea syndrome. The fiber sensor has a compact size by it having only 15.3% of the volume of a standard sensing system that allows detecting sleep apnea syndrome. The obtained results show that the fiber optic system is perfect for preliminary SAS screening and monitoring of the respiration and heartbeat of neonates.
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