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Thoracic Medicine

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Sleep Medicine

Latest News

Office workers with more light exposure at work had longer sleep duration, better sleep quality, more physical activity and better quality of life compared to office workers with less light exposure in the workplace.

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Can you be sleep deprived without knowing it? Sleep is not always prioritised however the implications can be devastating. Even one night sleep deprived can be impacting your body on a variety of different levels; physically and psychologically. The only way to know if you are getting consolidated sleep is to monitor with specialised equipment what is happening when you are asleep.

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In what may be the largest study of sleep problems among individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), researchers at UC Davis have found that widely undiagnosed sleep disorders may be at the root of the most common and disabling symptom of the disease: fatigue. Study paticipant reports of sleep disorder frequency, sleep patterns and complaints of excessive daytime sleepiness suggest that sleep problems may be a hidden epidemic in the MS population.

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A sleep-promoting circuit located deep in the primitive brainstem has revealed how we fall into deep sleep. Discovered by researchers at Harvard School of Medicine and the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, this is only the second "sleep node" identified in the mammalian brain whose activity appears to be both necessary and sufficient to produce deep sleep.  Using designer genes, researchers were able to 'turn on' specific neurons in the brainstem that result in deep sleep.

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Insomnia can cause chronic inflammation, which can lead to weight gain, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and earlier death. This study finds that curing the insomnia reduces the inflammation and hopefully reduces disease. It also found the best way to cure lack of sleep is through the use of a common psychotherapy treatment - cognitive behavioural therapy.

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Getting enough sleep is important to people of any age, but it is especially so for teenagers, with insufficient sleep possibly being linked to obesity as an adult.

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a broad term to define airflow limitation that is not reversible. A patient usually has a component of emphysema, chronic bronchitis or a combination of the two. Diagnosis, analysis and treatment of COPD requires a range of professional medical services; including Medical Imaging, Pathology and Lung Function testing.

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Medical Imaging

pathology

Pathology

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Lung Function

 

Medical Imaging

Chest x-rays and CT scans are imaging studies that are commonly performed in patients with COPD; however, neither is required to diagnose COPD.

Chest x-rays — Plain chest x-rays have poor sensitivity for detecting COPD. COPD is identifiable on chest x-rays in only around 50% of patients with COPD.  Some features on x-rays that can be found (often in advanced disease) include:

  • Rapidly tapering vascular shadows, increased radiolucency of the lung, a flat diaphragm, and a long, narrow heart shadow on a frontal radiograph, accompanied by a flat diaphragmatic contour and an increased retrosternal airspace on a lateral radiograph. These findings are due to hyperinflation.

     

 



  • Bullae, defined as radiolucent areas larger than one centimeter in diameter and surrounded by arcuate hairline shadows. They are due to locally severe disease, and may or may not be accompanied by widespread emphysema. (See right)

 
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A C.T. Scan showing Lung Bullae




  • Prominent hilar vascular shadows and encroachment of the heart shadow on the retrosternal space. The cardiac enlargement may become evident only on comparison with previous chest radiographs. These findings are due to pulmonary hypertension and cor pulmonale, which can be secondary to COPD.

 
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Prominent Hilar Vascular Shadows



Computerised tomography — Emphysema can often be diagnosed through computed tomography (CT), but not chronic bronchitis or asthma.  High resolution CT has an even greater sensitivity and specificity for emphysema diagnosis than normal CT or plain chest x-ray.  CT can be used to determine the location and type of emphysema (centriacinar or panacinar). CT plays an important role in evaluating emphysematous patients for lung volume reduction surgery.

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Pathology

Arterial Blood Gases - Arterial blood gases are a blood test using blood taken from an artery, most commonly drawn from the wrist. Thie blood test can reveal mild or moderate hypoxemia without hypercapnia in patients with mild COPD. Hypomemia is the partial pressure decrease of oxygen in blood, decreased oxygenation in the blood is a serious condition leading to blacking out, inefficient bodily function and eventually premature death. As the disease progresses, the hypoxemia becomes more severe and hypercapnia develops.  Hypercapnia is where there is a high level of carbon dioxide in the blood, this usually causes a reflex causing increased respiration to increase oxygen and decrease carbon dioxide levels.. Hypercapnia occurs with increasing frequency as the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) falls below one litre, the amount of air exhaled in one second. Blood gas abnormalities worsen during acute exacerbations and may also worsen during exercise and sleep.

Lung Function

Spirometry is the "Gold Standard" in diagnostic testing of COPD. Spirometry is a very simple test and measure inhalation and exhalation volumes of a patients breath. In COPD FEV1/FVC ratio should be below 0.7. This figure is determined from a vast number of studies which have tested lung function in healthy patient and then compared the results to patients confirmed to have COPD. The studies will compare data on sexes, ages and various other demographic variables to identify a range of "normal" functioning.

 

  • The patient with COPD has reduced peak expiratory flow, and severely decreased flows at 25%, 50% and 75% of vital capacity compared with the normal range (vertical bars), and shows minimal response to bronchodilator (BD). By comparison, the patient with chronic asthma shows incomplete, but substantial, reversibility of expiratory flow limitation across the range of vital capacity. After BD the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) was within the normal range (82% predicted). Absolute and per cent predicted values for FEV1 and forced vital capacity (FVC) before and after BD are shown for each patient.

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The Wesley Lung Function Laboratory offers state-of-the-art lung function testing, including spirometry. More information on the Lab, lung function testing, lung conditions and our services can be found HERE.

Alternatively you can download our Educational Brochure about COPD below:

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (722KB)


Click HERE to download a referral form, these can be used by patients and doctors.

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