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Thread: Sleep Apnea - curious to know if the breathing machines are available in NZ

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  1. #1
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    Default Sleep Apnea - curious to know if the breathing machines are available in NZ

    I am curious to know if the breathing machines are available in NZ. Steve has been meaning to get tested for sleep apnea, but if all goes well we'll be in NZ soon. Plus, if we did get the machine here, i think it would be a big pain to get a US one to work there. (adapters and such) I'd like to hear about experiances from anyone who has sleep apnea, in NZ or elsewhere.
    Ana

  2. #2
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    hi Ana
    I don't have sleep apnea but I used to work for big US home medical company Lincare so I'm familiar with sleep apnea treatment & equipment. One of the main supliers of CPAP machines (in the US & elsewhere) is Fisher & Paykel, a NZ company, so I would assume that the F&P products would be available in NZ. I also recently saw a recall notice in the newspaper here relating to Respironics CPAP machines, so they must be available here too.

    US insurance companies prefer to rent CPAP machines until the purchase price is met, so you might have problems insurance-wise if you tried to get a machine in the US shortly before leaving - depends on the insurer though, some will buy outright. Of course, it's entirely possible that Steve doesn't have sleep apnea anyway (fingers crossed!).

    I found this site:
    http://www.sleepnz.co.nz/index.php?page=intro
    but I have no clue about coverage within the NZ public health system.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ana&Steve View Post
    Plus, if we did get the machine here, i think it would be a big pain to get a US one to work there. (adapters and such)
    Not necessarily -
    http://www.fphcare.com/osa/faqfamilies.asp
    Fisher & Paykel Healthcare CPAP machines are lightweight and compact, allowing for easy transport with the custom carry bag. These units have a universal voltage feature which allows them to operate on any domestic AC mains voltage (which is between100-240V), and with the use of the appropriate pin/plug adapter the unit can operate in any country. When going through customs ensure you have a letter from your doctor stating the use you have for the CPAP unit.

  4. #4
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    Thanks so much Oregonkiwi! This is exactly what we need to figure this out. I hope he doesn't have is either, but sometimes he really displays the warning signs, eg: stops breathing for several seconds during sleep, snoring, waking up groggy and cranky. He doesn't always do it, and strangely with all the stress we've been going through lately it seems like he's actually sleeping more soundly. (he's just been taking longer to fall asleep )
    Thanks again for your response and the links!
    Ana
    PS: Here's a rep IOU, still can't give you the real thing...

  5. #5
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    Yes, those do sound like the signs of sleep apnea. Taking longer to fall asleep is related to sleeping more soundly - people with OSA usually fall asleep instantly because they're so exhausted.

    There's a simple and inexpensive screening test for OSA called overnight oximetry - Steve would be given a small (say 2xiPod size) machine with a finger probe to clip to his finger and wear overnight. It would record his levels of oxygen desaturation (ie how much he stops breathing) while he's asleep. If that showed serious desaturation then he'd be referred to a sleep lab for a full sleep study - but it might also show low or no desaturation, meaning he has some other problem. Might be worth talking to his doctor about this soon, so you at least get an idea what's going on.
    Avril

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