Clinical trials put the sleep center on the cutting edge of new therapies

Sep 11,2009

When Bill Massier was diagnosed with coronary heart failure (CHF) at Good Sam more than five years ago, he learned that a form of central sleep apnea was also affecting his health. Armed with a CPAP machine to help him breathe consistently during the night, Massier returned home ready to keep his heart as healthy as possible. But recently, complications sent him back to the hospital where physicians not only cared for his heart, but recommended he undergo a new sleep study to assess his apnea condition.

“I was really concerned,” said Norma Massier, Bill’s wife and Good Sam employee. “His heart failure had weakened him so much and when he can’t breathe or sleep well at night it makes everything worse. I know the sleep center is very busy, but they got us in so quickly and the personnel there were the kind of people you can only hope will take care of you when you need help.”

Specialists at the Samaritan Sleep Disorders Center examined Massier and recommended new cutting-edge equipment called a servo respiratory assist device, which was developed specifically for people with CHF.

Studies show that majority of the CHF patients put on the new device have immediate improvements in nocturnal breathing and sleep continuity, improvements in daytime energy levels, and stabilization or diminishment of their rate of heart function decline.

And, most importantly, Massier now reports feeling better and sleeping soundly.

As one of the largest sleep centers in Oregon, the Samaritan Sleep Disorders Center at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center was designed to host clinical trials and research studies. According to Medical Director Dr. Mark Reploeg, a sleep medicine specialist with The Corvallis Clinic, clinical trials put the center on the cutting edge of new therapies.

“We are particularly interested in trials related to restless legs syndrome and insomnia as well as excessive daytime sleepiness,” said Reploeg. “We are also interested in new modalities for the treatment of sleep apnea.

“Involvement in trials gives our patients an opportunity to be involved in new treatment options and advancing understanding in the field of sleep medicine,” continued Reploeg. “They also may be able to try treatments that may not be available to others for years to come.”