The little pebble making big waves

The little pebble making big waves

Reading time: 5 minutes

What’s inside?

  • The little pebble making big waves
  • What is sleep apnoea?... A recap
  • How do most people get their sleep apnoea diagnosis?
  • Eh, ... What’s an AcuPebble?
  • The Groundbreaking Study
  • The Impact and Beyond
  • What’s next?


The little pebble making bit waves in the sleep apnoea world

In the realms of sleep health, a revolutionary wave could be upon us, changing the way we approach the diagnosis of sleep apnoea.

Traditionally, the journey to a sleep apnoea diagnosis has been time consuming, often taking years from initial concerns and doctor’s referrals to actually having the opportunity to undergo a sleep test and… eventually… getting your hands on a CPAP machine.

The standard assessment usually involves overnight stays in a sleep lab for comprehensive polysomnography testing, although – if you’re lucky – you may get the chance to do this in your own bed, that’s if your local sleep clinic can provide you with a home-kit.

Either way, the magic box needs returned to the sleep gurus for analysis and the all-important conclusions.

This process can take YEARS to complete, when you include wait-times to first get onto and then work your way up, the list of other lucky participants. The waste, sorry… wait, between each of these steps can add another chunk of months or even years.

My own experience, which was impacted by covid delays too, was almost a year on the original wait list and another year post-diagnosis before a CPAP machine arrived. For me, the analysis bit in-between was actually pretty fast (comparatively, at least) at less than 2 months.

Delays shouldn’t be a surprise though.

After all, sleep apnoea is not a small problem. A recent study estimated we are getting close to one billion people experiencing sleep apnoea globally.


What is Sleep Apnoea?... A recap

If the whole subject of sleep apnoea is new to you, here’s a quick overview…

Sleep apnoea, or often sleep apnea, is a condition marked by pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. It's more than just snoring or a bad night's sleep; it's a serious health concern that can lead to significant complications if left untreated.

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is the most common form. This occurs when throat muscles decide, in their own scatter-brained way, to relax and block your airway during sleep.

Good, eh?

Our own bodies actually decide it would be a good idea to stop us doing the very thing that keeps us alive.

And it looks like almost a billion people are affected.

That’s almost a THOUSAND MILLION people who can’t breathe adequately on their own while sleeping!

Dunno about you, but I find that more than a wee bit concerning.

Yet many remain undiagnosed and untreated, with the condition often flying under the radar. Sometimes for decades… sometimes forever.


How do most people get their sleep apnoea diagnosis?

As mentioned above, diagnosing OSA traditionally involves an overnight polysomnography test in a sleep lab.

This is currently the "gold standard" method and can be pretty effective but… it does have its drawbacks.

It's costly, requires spending at least one night away from the comfort of your own bed, and these unfamiliar environments can sometimes skew the results too.

Enter the need for innovation—a simpler, more comfortable way to diagnose sleep apnoea.

Enter the AcuPebble!


Eh, … What’s an AcuPebble?

The AcuPebble device could be a beacon of hope on the sleep apnoea rocks. I say could because we’re not quite there yet.

The AcuPebble a small, wearable piece of technology that patients can use in their own homes. By attaching to the neck, it records breathing sounds, snoring, heart rate, and oxygen saturation while you sleep. The beauty of the AcuPebble lies in its simplicity and the power of the data it collects, which is then analysed to detect the presence and severity of sleep apnoea.

And all from the comfort of your own bed.


The Groundbreaking Study

The "Finding Obstructive sleep apnoea Using a Novel Device", or FOUND (get it?) study, is at the heart of this innovation.

Run by a group of universities and other sleep apnoea agencies, it's designed to test the effectiveness and accuracy of the AcuPebble in a real-world home-setting. What makes this study stand out is its focus on the device's usability by a wide demographic, ensuring that it's a viable solution for anyone who might need it.

Participants in the study are equipped with the device and given straightforward instructions on its use, emphasising the study's aim to make sleep apnoea diagnosis as accessible as possible. Unlike traditional sleep studies that offer a single night's data, the AcuPebble can provide insights over multiple nights, offering a broader view of the patient's condition.


The Impact and Beyond

The implications of this study and the AcuPebble's technology are far-reaching. By making sleep apnoea diagnosis more accessible and less intimidating, more people are likely to get diagnosed and treated earlier.

This has the potential to significantly improve quality of life and reduce the risk of the many complications associated with untreated sleep apnoea. After all, imagine just one truck-driver who goes undiagnosed and doses-off in fast moving traffic or near a school crossing. Now imagine that same driver with proper CPAP treatment – because it was easier to diagnose the sleep apnoea issue in the first place.

It's a no-brainer.

Furthermore, this shift towards more patient-centred, home-based diagnostics is a sign of broader changes in healthcare. It represents a move towards empowering patients, reducing the strain on healthcare facilities, and making effective use of technology to address health challenges.


What’s next?

While initial results from the study are promising, the journey doesn't end here. Further research will delve deeper into the AcuPebble's capabilities, comparing its accuracy directly with that of sleep-clinic based polysomnography across a diverse range of patients. There's also the exciting potential to adapt this technology for diagnosing and monitoring other conditions, broadening the horizon of patient-centred healthcare solutions.

The AcuPebble, and it’s part in the FOUND study, marks a significant milestone in the diagnosis of sleep apnoea. It stands as a testament to the power of innovation in healthcare, offering a glimpse into a future where diagnosing and managing sleep apnoea is less of an ordeal and more a part of routine health care.

As we continue to explore and validate these new technologies, the dream of more accessible, accurate, and comfortable healthcare solutions becomes a tangible reality.


Back to blog

Leave a comment