Samson Desta realizes that some patients think they just have to live with chronic insomnia or other sleep problems. But he knows that is not the case and wants to help.
Desta is the new polysomnographic technologist at St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center where he is helping patients in the Sleep/Wake Disorders Center. Since his arrival, the sleep center has doubled its capacity and can serve patients six nights a week.
Polysomnography is the big word for a sleep study, said Desta, who earned an associate’s degree in polysomnography/sleep technology in May 2011 at Johnson County Community College.
“The overnight study monitors sleep and a variety of bodily functions during sleep,” Desta explained. “These functions include brain waves, breathing patterns, blood-oxygen levels, heart rhythms and limb movements.
“We can also watch for how often the patient changes positions,” Desta added. “The results we gather can help determine the necessary treatment.”
Desta emphasized that anyone who doesn’t get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis should seek answers. “Patients should not leave any sleep problem untreated if they have the chance,” he commented. “There could be a shortage of oxygen to the brain. You don’t have to live with chronic sleep problems.”
The technologist also noted there is no pain or discomfort involved in a sleep study. And, he added, many patients don’t think they will fall asleep but in a large majority of cases, they have no trouble at all.
Desta, who is originally from Ethiopia and most recently lived in Olathe, also earned an associate’s degree in business education from Addis Ababa University in June 1992.
Brandi Gruber, St. Rose director of cardiopulmonary services, noted that since Desta has joined the sleep-center team, patients can schedule a study sooner than in the past and they have more choices about when they want to schedule a visit.
“We can perform studies every day but Sunday,” Gruber said. “This is a first and we are happy to accommodate patients with these enhanced services.”
Susan Deweese, R.N., who has been a nurse for 37 years and now specializes in sleep technology, is the other team member.
Sleep apnea, which causes breathing to stop during sleep, is a common reason people seek help. Others include sleep disturbances related to night-shift work and restless leg syndrome. Four sleep-study rooms are available and each has its own bathroom and shower.
When a sleep study is completed, results are sent to Steven Ronsick, M.D., the sleep center’s medical director, for interpretation; it also goes to the patient’s primary care physician. Based at the Hutchinson Clinic, Dr. Ronsick is the only area physician who is board certified in sleep medicine.
St. Rose’s sleep center is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.