Why does a cardiologist have a sleep medicine program?
- Diagnostic Sleep Study
- CPAP Titration Study
- CPAP Follow-up Clinic
- Inspire Evaluation and Follow-up
Events occurring during sleep, especially disordered breathing, have a major effect on the remainder of
the day. In fact, obstructive sleep apnea is a prime contributor to refractory hypertension, to heart rhythm
problems such as atrial fibrillation, and to congestive heart failure. These three conditions are commonly
managed by cardiologists. It makes no sense to treat these conditions without addressing the underlying
Dr. Steljes is one of a handful of cardiologists nationwide who have recognized this connection and have
integrated sleep medicine into the cardiology practice. He is board certified by the American Board of
Internal Medicine in the subspecialty of sleep medicine.
Sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction in the upper airway usually at the back of the throat. Patients
manage well during the day but at nighttime and especially during sleep are prone to some
collapse of the upper airway making it difficult to move sufficient air in and out. As a consequence, oxygen
levels fall and sleep quality is impaired. Patients awaken without feeling refreshed and feel excessively
tired and sleepy during the day.
Every patient who is new to the practice is evaluated for sleep apnea with a simple questionnaire and
with the physical examination. Patients who appear to have sleep apnea may require a sleep study.
Our sleep lab is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. In fact, it is the only accredited
lab in Henderson and one of a very few in the Las Vegas Valley. The lab is quiet, comfortable and private.
Sleep apnea is a treatable condition. Treatment is targeted at keeping the airway open. The commonest
treatment is CPAP. The principle is very simple. We use air pressure to keep the airway from collapsing.
This treatment has been available for many years and is in widespread use. However, our practice is
the only one which provides CPAP followup. By supporting patients in the transition phase and trouble
shooting issues, most patients have been effectively treated. Effective therapy can be life changing by
improving the quality of sleep and restoring energy during the day.
Other treatment options include a dental appliance or surgery. We maintain relationships with experienced
dentists and surgeons if these options are required.