Local hotel houses sleep lab for University Health System

Eight rooms outfitted with sleep technology

SAN ANTONIO – The big, yellow building near Interstate 10 and Loop 410 is more than just a La Quinta Inn. The second floor holds eight specialized room and a control room for a sleep lab within the University Health System. 

"We've been doing sleep studies in the hotel for about two years," Dr. Karen Hentschel-Franks said.

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Hentschel-Franks specializes in pediatric sleep medicine with the University Health System. She said the hotel setting helps calm the nerves of children who undergo a sleep study. Eight sleep studies are scheduled a night: Two for children, four others for adults. 

Technicians help patients through every step of the process. Monitors are placed on the patient's head and face to track how deep of a sleep a patient obtains during the night. Other devices monitor the airway and breathing. A camera watches the patient sleep and data is collected throughout the night. 

Hentschel-Franks points to a screen with lines representing the breathing patterns of a patient. 

"When it's flat like this, it's where he's not breathing. And in between, where it goes up again is where he starts to breath again," Hentschel-Franks explained. 

After a night of research, the patient is able to grab some breakfast downstairs. 

A sleep study can do more than just diagnose a patient with potential sleep disorders like sleep apnea. They can also help doctors find a treatment for the patient. Sometimes a patient suspected to have sleep apnea is put on a CPAP during the study to see if it improves their breathing patterns. 


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