Obstructive Apnea Index

Last Updated: February 11, 2019

Definition - What does Obstructive Apnea Index mean?

Apnea hypopnea index (AHI) is a clinical measurement scale used to assess the number of circadian rhythm disruptions on a per hour basis in patients who suffer from sleep apnea (closed airway) or sleep hypopnea (partially-closed airway). Polysomnography is a sleep study test that uses AHI as its criterion in helping to determine the degree of severity of apnea/hypopnea in patients for diagnostic and treatment purposes. A sleep technician notes erratic breathing patterns characterized by either transient intervals of partially blocked airflow (hypopnea) or complete cessations of airflow (apnea).

WorkplaceTesting explains Obstructive Apnea Index

Patients diagnosed with apnea or hypopnea may be prescribed a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, engineered to regulate airflow at a steady rate to facilitate normal breathing cycles. Some CPAP models display AHI readouts for convenient observation by its user while a sleep testing facility receives concurrent data noting digital feedback covering normal or abnormal AHI results. In some cases, CPAP equipment requires periodic calibration checks to ensure the pressure is tailored for each patient.

AHI metrics is a viable indicator sleep technicians use to gauge the detrimental effects of sleep apnea over time, providing reliable information from test findings to correlate with benchmark ranges. Individuals with hypopnea can experience partial blockage as the tongue or soft palate temporarily restricts free movement of air, usually occurring in ten second gaps, justifying treatment interventions. Conversely, sleep apnea can have more serious implications as soft tissue muscles collapse, obstructing airflow that often induces repetitive arousals or waking spells during the night by the patient.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that carries epidemiological health risk factors such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), and obesity. Individuals are likely to experience chronic fatigue, impaired cognition, and overall negligence that hinders labor production in conjunction with raising liability costs with compounding accidents. Many people who suffer from sleep apnea may fall under the Equality Act 2010 mandate stipulating any mental and/or physical impairment that entails perpetual interferences in daily activities constitutes a disability. However, AHI baseline allows patients a recourse in finding the appropriate treatment to alleviate their hypopnea/apnea sleep pattern disturbances.

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