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Sleep Study Keeps Hazleton Trucker on the Road


When a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) medical examiner told Hazleton truck driver Aneudy Martinez that he needed a sleep study in order to have his commercial driver’s license (CDL) renewed, he was confused.

“I thought I was sleeping fine,” says the 33-year-old who went for his required PennDOT CDL physical in July.

“My wife, Jasannia, tells me I snore now and then, but I never thought this.”

Although Martinez wasn’t previously diagnosed with a sleep problem, the examiner noticed his blood pressure and body mass index (BMI) indicated a potential issue. Martinez wasted no time arranging a sleep study at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Hazleton Sleep Disorders Center.

“A trucker has a short window to get this testing done and address any issues or risk losing his or her commercial license,” says Russell Gasser, Sleep Disorders Center supervisor.

Home sleep study

Some health insurers may approve an initial home sleep study to confirm a diagnosis of sleep apnea before approving an evaluation at a sleep center. Martinez was fitted for the home sleep test – a respiratory effort belt worn around the abdomen with wires plugged into a recorder – which measured his oxygen level, breathing effort and airflow while sleeping. The home sleep study takes from one to three nights.

“His home sleep study pointed to classic obstructive sleep apnea – when breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Aneudy then stayed overnight at the sleep center to make sure there were no additional complications,” Gasser says. Martinez underwent a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) titration study, a more calibrated analysis of how much air pressure is needed to prevent airway blockage. After that, Martinez was fitted with a CPAP mask, which is connected to a machine that pumps air according to pressure specifications.

CPAP benefits

“I’ve heard some people have a tough time adjusting to CPAP, but I haven’t had any problems,” Martinez says. “I noticed right away how much better I felt after one night’s sleep; it was like night and day in terms of my energy.”

By using CPAP at least 70 percent of the time he sleeps, as is required, Martinez’s commercial driver’s license was renewed. His trucking routes have been altered so he can sleep at home most nights.

Lehigh Valley Health Network has three divisions of testing services for sleep disorders: Adult Sleep Center, Pediatric Sleep Center and Home Sleep Testing. The sleep centers are located at LVH–Hazleton, LVH–Schuylkill, LVH–17th Street and the Health Center at Bethlehem Township. There are also nine home sleep-testing locations.

“Our Sleep Disorders Centers have served adults and children in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas for 35 years,” says Stephanie Betz, clinical manager for LVHN Sleep Disorders Centers. “We provide high-quality, exceptional care in a comfortable home-like environment.”

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