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AI helps in identifying those at risk of Sleep Apnea

by Team IA, October 7, 2021

In our last blogpost we discussed the potential role of AI in the study of sleep disorders. An AI project has found some factors that lead to Sleep Apnea in patients. Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder which can be quite serious as it causes breathing to halt and start repeatedly in those with this condition. Healthcare providers at Sanford Health will soon be using augmented intelligence to go through the electronic medical records of patients to scan a number of factors that could point towards a patient who is suffering from sleep apnea. They have zeroed in on about 67 indicators for sleep apnea some of which are the body mass index (BMI), medical history, age, clinical symptoms, gender, etc. ALong with these indicators the healthcare providers ask patients about their tiredness quotient through the course of the day. When these two factors are put together, a score is taken out which indicates the likelihood of the patient suffering from sleep apnea.

The augmented reality tool has been developed with the aim of providing quality care to patients by increasing the efficiency of the primary care practitioners. It does not, however, act as replacement for sleep tests and it definitely is not the diagnosis. But it definitely helps identify those patients who are at great risk so that their treatment can begin accordingly.

As electronic medical records contain some key data such as vital signs, medical history, laboratory results of each patient, AI scans through this data and the chances of a person developing sleep apnea are ranked as low, medium, or high. Besides this, the tool also shows the top five factors which lead to the risk score of the patient. These may change from time to time. For example if a person sheds weight or quits smoking, he would be at a lower risk. The algorithm is designed to automatically adjust the scores each month on the basis of the records of the patient. For the primary care provider, it would be as easy as the click of a button to know the reason behind the patient being at risk of developing sleep apnea and they can suggest the course of action accordingly.

Those patients who are considered to be high risk are asked to visit a sleep clinic for further analysis. The traditional sleep study need not be done on all patients but only those who have a relatively high risk. Low risk patients improve with initial treatment itself.

If you are someone who has sleep apnea or have a patient who has the same and AI has helped you in any way, do share your story with us at and don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

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by Team IA

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