Every night, the Dr RN Cooper Hospital in Vile Parle receives one patient for a sleepover. By the time the patient wakes up the next morning, an automated software is ready with a detailed sleep analysis study. Started as a dedicated sleep apnea laboratory, the hospital is receiving several patients who suffer from sleep deprivation and want help. “We have the entire week booked. We can study sleep pattern of one patient per night,” says Dr Shashikant Mhashal, head of the ENT unit at the hospital. Situated on the sixth floor of the hospital, the sleep laboratory is a small room with a bed, equipment and a computer. Those who suffer from sleep apnea are fitted with oxymeter and electrodes and allowed to sleep. Through the night, the software measures the number of times a patient wakes up, oxygen saturation in their body and sleep obstruction pattern. “Based on that, patients may need a surgery of tonsils and treatment for snoring. Sometimes medication helps,” Mhashal said.
The laboratory has received close to 40 patients since it began in April. After Nair Hospital, that started a similar facility but had no dedicated room for it, Cooper is the first government hospital in the city to help people with sleep disorder.
“There is a difference between insomnia and apnea. Insomnia needs psychiatric intervention. We deal with medical aspect of apnea,” Mhashal said.
According to hospital dean, Dr Ganesh Shinde, the stress and lifestyle in Mumbai often affects the sleep pattern of people. “This is termed as obstructive pathology. The obstruction of oxygen supply to brain while sleeping may wake a person constantly, and they may gasp for breath. Often people don’t realise the cause of sleepless nights and spend the entire day fighting sleep,” Shinde said.
The hospital has a team of physicians, ENT specialists and psychiatrists. “We are trying to raise more awareness on it,” said Dr Labdhy Nirmal, attached with ENT unit.