The focus of this project, which is funded by the Bavarian Research Foundation (BFS), was the development of a portable sleep lab. Sleep disorders come in all shapes and sizes. Because the clinical picture is so complex, with current technology a differential diagnosis can be developed only by analyzing patients in a sleep laboratory. The new system developed by Fraunhofer IIS lets patients undergo this sleep diagnosis in the comfort of their home.
Since sleep disorders create a clinical picture based on numerous causes and influences, a myriad of vital parameters must be recorded in order to develop a differential diagnosis. This includes tracking activities from the brain (EEG), heart (ECG), eyes (EOG) and muscles (EMG), in addition to monitoring oxygen saturation, respiration and the position of the patient. A total of 24 parameters are recorded and then analyzed by trained personnel. The same effort must be expended during therapy in case the success of the treatment has to be verified through routine examinations every six months, or if the therapy has to be adjusted because the patient´s health situation has changed.
The numerous measurements mean that patients have to wear a correspondingly large number of sensors and cables, not to mention that personnel must be adequately trained before they can place the sensors on the patient. Finally, medical professionals believe the complexity of the equipment and the unfamiliar surroundings of the lab influences the patient's sleep routine, which in turn impacts the medical relevance of the test results.