The Sleep Disorders Center at Sentara Bayside Hospital Earns National Accreditation
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The Sleep Disorders Center at Sentara Bayside Hospital Earns National Accreditation 

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More than 70 million people in the U.S. have a sleep disorder, although most are completely unaware of it and never seek the help they need. Those who do seek help are most frequently referred to a sleep disorders center that is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).

The Sleep Disorders Center at Sentara Bayside Hospital may now count itself among this elite group of approximately 600 AASM-accredited sleep centers in the nation. The accreditation is the gold standard by which physicians, companies and the general public evaluate sleep programs.

An accredited sleep disorders program is a significant resource to a medical community and the public, explained Anthony J. Quaranta, M.D., medical director of the Center who is board-certified in sleep medicine. Weve joined an elite group. Accreditation means that were abidingby all the standards provided by the AASM. Its good for us and important for the Sentara system. It ensures the highest quality patient care and treatment available.

The comprehensive, year-long accreditation process involves a site visit by a trained professional to observe nighttime studies and daytime operations, lengthy interviews with administration, physicians and staff, and a thorough review of policies, procedures and protocols to ensure compliance with AASM guidelines and standards.

"It is a lengthy process and can be challenging," said Fernando Joe Maglaya, M.D., F.C.C.P., board-certified in sleep medicine. "They were impressed when they visited here, and at the end of the day, we felt good. Being accredited is our way of telling people this sleep center ismaintaining a higher standard of care. Were one of the better sleep centers in the country and theres a significant demand for our services."

The Sleep Disorders Center at Sentara Bayside opened its doors in February 2002 with four beds/sleep labs. Board certified sleep specialists perform as many as 1,000 sleep studies a year, up to four studies per night, six nights a week. There are nine other AASM-certified sleep centers in Virginia, among them are: Sentara Norfolk General Hospital the first in the state to earn accreditation, as well as Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital and Sentara Williamsburg Community Hospital.

In conjunction with its sister Center at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, the Center features a number of special programs and clinics including: computer-simulated driving testing for patients with excessive daytime drowsiness, a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Clinic (CPAP) to help patients learn to properly use and maintain their CPAP equipment; and an AWAKE support group with bi-monthly meetings to provide support and education for individuals with sleep disorders and their family members. The Center also participates in ongoing studies and drug trials in conjunction with Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and Eastern Virginia Medical School in order to pioneer advances and new, effective treatments to those suffering from sleep disorders.

"The most common thing we see is insomnia," noted Dr. Quaranta, "And the primary diagnosis for insomnia is obstructed sleep apnea. Four percent of the population has apnea, so it is very prevalent."

The recent death of NFL football player Reggie White actually prompted a lot of younger people to take their symptoms seriously and come see us, he added.

People with sleep apnea do not breathe properly during sleep. This can lead to daytime sleepiness and may contribute to high blood pressure, heart failure, heart attack and stroke. Warning signs of sleep apnea include loud snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, gasping, pauses in breathing, irritability, depression and forgetfulness.

The Center treats these common sleep disorders:

-- Sleep Apnea improper breathing during sleep
-- Insomnia inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
-- Narcolepsy excessive drowsiness during the day
-- Restless Leg Syndrome creepy, crawly sensation of the legs while lying still
-- Periodic Limb Movement Disorder repetitive, involuntary movements during sleep
-- Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behavior Disorder leads to acting out of dreams

In addition to Dr. Quaranta and Dr. Maglaya, J. Catesby Ware, Ph.D., a professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School and a nationally recognized researcher in sleep medicine, contributes to the sleep program. 

Dr. Quaranta noted, "We're very fortunate to have Dr. Ware here with us locally. He's world-renowned, one of the leaders in the field, and well respected for his sleep research. We've had a lot of guidance from him. His involvement has helped us raise the bar for the Center."

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