The MUHC Inaugurates Its Sleep Disorders Centre

Published: 19 June 2001

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) inaugurates today its new Sleep Disorders Centre, the result of the merger of the two adult centres from the Royal Victoria(RVH) and the Montreal General(MGH) sites. Construction was completed in December 2000 on the 10th Floor of the "F" Pavilion at the Royal Victoria Hospital site.

The MUHC Sleep Disorders Centre is comprised of a new sleep laboratory with a total of 6 sleep rooms for diagnostic and therapeutic sleep studies. The other major component of the Centre is the multi-disciplinary sleep disorders clinic where patients undergo clinical evaluation prior to being studied in the laboratory. The clinic is staffed by nursing and medical specialists from respiratory medicine, psychiatry and neurology. The new centre will increase the efficiency of delivery of patient care services, and will also serve as the core facility for teaching and research in sleep disorders.

"The past two decades have seen an explosion of knowledge in the medical field of sleep disorders," states Dr. John Kimoff, Director of the MUHC Sleep Disorders Centre. "Striking information has appeared on the large numbers of individuals affected by sleep disorders, and the impact these have on health, public safety and workplace productivity.

Many effective treatments have been developed for sleep disorders, so that once a problem is correctly identified through clinical evaluation and laboratory testing in a sleep disorders centre, effective treatment can be instituted, often with dramatic effects on health and well-being,"he added.

One example of a common sleep disorder with major health consequences is obstructive sleep apnea. This disorder affects 2% of adult women and 4% of adult men and is characterized by repeated cessation of breathing during sleep, leading to repeated falls in blood oxygen levels and disruption of sleep. Important consequences of this include daytime sleepiness, concentration and memory problems, and an association with long-term cardiovascular complications including high blood pressure, heart attacks and heart failure and stroke, said Dr. Kimoff. Once identified by appropriate laboratory testing the problem is readily treated, often with a breathing aid during sleep known as CPAP, which restores normal breathing during sleep and normal sleep quality, and leads to dramatic resolution of the daytime symptoms.

Other conditions treated by the service include narcolepsy, limb movement and behavioural disturbances during sleep and some forms of insomnia.

Over the past 10 years, the McGill sleep disorders service has acquired an international reputation through its clinical activities, teaching of medical students, residents, and post-doctoral trainees, and research activities, and has been recognized by the Quebec government as a "National Centre of Expertise" for the diagnosis and management of sleep disorders. Research programs currently being conducted within the Centre include studies on the mechanisms of airway obstruction during sleep, innovative approaches to the treatment of sleep-related breathing disorders, and on the interactions between sleep problems and heart failure.

The laboratory has occupied renovated facilities within the hospital with construction costs of $480,000. Financial support was provided by generous private contributions with matching funds from the RVH Foundation.

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