Dr. Mark A. Cruz is known for providing innovative, effective treatment options for sleep apnea to residents of Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, and other nearby communities. However, before the condition can be treated, it must be diagnosed.
When the patient comes to Dr. Cruz, he begins with a screening. He does a physical airway exam to screen for polysomic disorders. He looks at the facial structure, tongue posture, swallowing, tooth wear pattern, history of orthodontic treatment, joint disease, and temporomandibular dysfunction. It is an extensive, thorough examination, structurally looking at the patient as well as looking at their history.
Dr. Cruz then gathers further objective data with what is called a high-resolution pulse oximeter, not to be confused with normal oximetry. This is high-resolution pulse oximetry that uses specific software that is designed for screening for sleep-disordered breathing. He also does a three-dimensional airway CT scan (also called a CVCT or CAT scan).
The physical airway examination tends to be more subjective because, Dr. Cruz is getting data from the patient, and learning about their perceptions. However, it is also important to collect objective data, which comes in the form of the three dimensional CT scan and high-resolution pulse oximetry. That is how he can determine what is happening with the individual’s blood oxygen levels throughout the night – if it is going up and down due to sleep-disordered breathing, and its effect on the heart rate.
Often, the screening is the beginning of the referral to the sleep physician. Dr. Cruz firmly believes that comprehensive care must be delivered in an integrated, multi-disciplinary fashion. He works with a sleep physician, specifically a sleep physician that he is able to talk to about the patient versus a franchise where one never talks to the same physician. It is important that he be talking to the same physician, and that they are on the same page. They integrate that with the cardiologist, neurologist, pulmonologist, or whoever it may be the patient actually requires.
The screening may lead to the polysomnogram (sleep study) if the profile indicates that. With the results of the polysomnogram, the definitive diagnosis is rendered by the sleep physician. Once a diagnosis has been attained, Dr. Cruz works with the patient and other physicians to determine what to do with that information. Myofunctional therapy, a jaw repositioning device, CPAP, or another alternative may be recommended, depending on the circumstances.
If you are concerned about sleep apnea, call (949) 661-1006 and schedule a screening with Dr. Cruz today.