FOR RELEASE: 1/5/2012Contact: John Cappiello, (203) 384-3637

Bridgeport Hospital Center for Sleep Medicine reaccredited for five years

The Center for Sleep Medicine at Bridgeport Hospital has renewed its full, five-year accreditation status from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). Accreditation signifies that the Center is dedicated to the advancement of sleep medicine, and meets national standards for staffing, leadership and facilities in providing high-quality patient care for sleep disorders.

In addition, the accreditation has been extended to the Center’s latest service, home-based testing, also known as out-of-center testing. Once fitted with portable monitoring equipment, this allows patients to undergo testing for sleep disorders in the comfort of their own home.

Bridgeport Hospital Chief of Podiatry Howard Harinstein, DPM, of Trumbull, who suffered from sleep apnea, says he made the right decision by seeking help at the Center for Sleep Medicine in late 2007.

“I tossed and turned and took medication to help me sleep,” Dr. Harinstein says. “Then I dozed rather than slept, and I woke up throughout the night.”

At the recommendation of his family medicine physician, Jennifer Ju, MD, Dr. Harinstein sought help from the experts in the Center for Sleep Medicine at Bridgeport Hospital. He underwent a sleep study—overnight monitoring of his breathing, oxygen level, movement, brain waves and heartbeat.

The diagnosis: sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. The brain reacts by waking the person up enough to reopen the airway. The cycle can repeat hundreds of times a night.

“Sleep apnea has been linked to high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats and an increase risk of heart attacks and stroke,” says Center for Sleep Medicine Medical Director Armand Wolff, MD.

Fortunately, most people with sleep apnea are easily treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. A CPAP machine delivers a steady stream of air through a mask placed over the nose and/or mouth during sleep. The continuous pressure of the air from the machine, which is greater than the pressure of the surrounding air, keeps the upper airway passages open.

“By discovering and treating a sleep disorder, we can restore people to a better level of functioning during the day,” says Dr. Wolff.

“CPAP therapy changed my entire life,” Dr. Harinstein says. “I now feel completely rested in the morning and I have enough stamina to keep working into the evening without a nap.”

Since it was established in 2001, the Center has helped diagnose and treat more than 6,300 patients with sleep disorders. In 2004, a steadily growing demand by patients and their physicians for help with sleep disorders led to the expansion of the Center from two sleep-study rooms to four.

In May 2011, the Center relocated its diagnostic suite to more spacious facilities in the Bridgeport Holiday Inn, where patients have free access to hotel amenities such as an indoor pool and fitness center following their diagnostic testing. The Center’s physician and clinical specialist offices remain at Bridgeport Hospital for all consultation and follow-up visits.

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Part of Yale New Haven Health System, Bridgeport Hospital is a 383-bed acute care hospital (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital) serving parts of Fairfield and New Haven counties. The hospital admits more than 18,000 patients and receives more than 240,000 outpatient visits annually.