June 12, 2007

APSS 2007 ... the sleep meeting

The annual Sleep meeting is the most important medical conference the ASAA attends each year. It is so for a number of reasons... not the least of which is to see who is there and to be seen by the other organizations that attend. Not to be at the APSS meeting, especially if you represent a sleep-related disorder, leads one to wonder if there is a problem. Happily, the ASAA was present in full force... including some volunteer patient members of the association. Thanks to Robert and Jean, Lionel, Bob and Jim for helping at the booth during the three days of the meeting.

The annual meeting is also an opportunity to bring together representatives of the Industry Roundtable, the corporate supporters of the ASAA. It is our practice to have a speaker on a topic of interest to the members. Our hope is to expose them to something they might not otherwise hear about in the sleep apnea field (without a lot of looking). I was fortunate to have Dr. Susheel Patil from Johns Hopkins Hospital on hand to speak on a subject he has done extensive work on and had published a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology. He gave an excellent overview of the subject.

There are many treats to attending the Sleep meeting. Among them this time was visiting with Colin Sullivan and meeting his wife Janette. I thoroughly enjoy talking with him and wish him only great success.

I was not able to attend as many of the educational sessions as I had hoped. But an important one was on portable monitoring of suspected sleep apnea. A majority of the presenters were associated with Veteran's Administration hospitals and they had, due to the sheer number of patients needing to be seen, developed a protocol incorporating at-home studies for diagnosing sleep apnea. Dr. Nancy Collop chaired the session and she is also the chair of a task force organized by the Academy of Sleep Medicine on this subject. The task force is to due report thei findings later this year. A highlight of the meeting was when William Dement introduced Colin Sullivan as the one person who made it possible for everyone in the room to do what they do... there was a standing ovation for him... way cool.

Something new this year was leading a discussion group with Dave Hargett, ASAA Board Chair, on improving patient adherence to therapy using the support group model. I enjoyed the opportunity to present information to interested sleep techs.

A number of good conversations with a number of people and so, a productive meeting for me. The next Sleep meeting is closer to home in Baltimore next year.

I get a bit of a respite for the summer before we conclude the season with three meetings... Anesthesiologists, Chest Physicians and for the first time under my watch... the American Public Health Association.

I'll be back.

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