Developing a prototype device for treating and monitoring Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS)

Author: Angel Batanga

  • Thesis download: available for open access on 21 Jun 2027.

Batanga, Angel, 2022 Developing a prototype device for treating and monitoring Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS), Flinders University, College of Science and Engineering

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Abstract Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSAS) is a sleep disorder that occurs due to airway muscles collapsing and is presented mostly in individuals above the age of 40 years old. OSAS may lead to other serious health issues, that include stroke and even hypertension. The most common treatment for OSAS is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, surgery, or dental appliances. Due to many factors, (e.g., discomfort, adherence) associated with the current OSAS treatment, myofunctional therapy (MT) (specifically oropharyngeal exercises) has been investigated as an alternative treatment for OSAS. Therefore, one of the aims was to conduct research on the efficacy and safety of MT. A systematic review of 6 studies on the efficacy and safety of MT was conducted. For patients under the intervention groups, MT improved airway patency and OSAS symptoms, whilst insignificant change was observed in the control group. in fact, in intervention groups, some studies recorded patients shifting from moderate to mild stage and from severe to moderate stage. The exercises were completely safe to perform individually at home. The current methods for performing MT do not include a monitoring system to monitor the effectiveness of the training on the muscles. This project was developed to prove that airway resistance (airway collapsibility) can be measured non-invasively and it is expected for the resistance to reduce with the training of the muscles through oropharyngeal exercises, which will be performed as people learn to circular breathe. Circular breathing is inhaling through the nose, filling the cheeks with air, and continuously exhaling the air via the mouth. The new innovation will incorporate the training aspect (the treatment concept) and airway collapsibility monitoring system (the measurement concept). Prototype specifications, needs, and requirements were defined after consultation with Spira Health. The Lucidchart website assisted in developing the design idea (through block diagrams and flow charts). Following the completion of prototype circuit building, Arduino IDE software was utilised to program and perform testing and collect data that were analysed to examine the effectiveness of the design idea. Data for the treatment concept showed circular breathing could be effectively performed when the Starling resistor pressure was low, as the resistance was also low. A Starling resistor is mechanical equipment that provides resistance in a tube. Increasing the Starling resistor pressure led to fluctuation in pressure, which indicates imperfect circular breathing action. With increasing Starling resistor pressure, it was if the muscle were provided with more time and energy to continue circular breathing action, whereas the opposite was the case when the Starling resistor pressure was low. This is observed by the high breathing frequency in the graphs. The utilised pressure sensor can only read positive pressure. This prevented the measurement concept to be implemented as the measurement concept involves inhaling through the device, which will produce negative pressure. Nevertheless, the measurement concept is still in progress. The measurement concept code was tested using random positive pressure values and the code worked as expected (the valve closed and open at certain pressures). Finally, the developed design idea functioned as expected in the treatment concept and appears promising in the measurement concept aspect.

Keywords: Sleep apnoea syndrome, OSA, myofunctional therapy, new treatment, oropharyngeal exercise for OSA, circular breathing for osa treatment, oropharyngeal exercise device

Subject: Engineering thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2022
School: College of Science and Engineering
Supervisor: Karen Reynolds