You have just commenced a graduate electronics


You have just commenced a graduate electronics engineering position at a medical device company;
and your first assignment is with a group that develops products in the field of sleep medicine, and in
particular, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) diagnostics. Following discussions with colleagues, and
doing some of your own research, you summarise some information about OSA:
OSA is a prevalent disease which affects between 8-38% of the general population depending on subgroup
(with highest values in elderly and obese) 1
, and has substantial direct and indirect costs to society 2
. The
characteristic feature of OSA is repeated collapse of the upper airway during sleep with the immediate
consequences of partial or complete cessation of breathing (apnoea or hypopnoea respectively); And that this
in turn leads to low blood oxygen levels (hypoxia), high blood carbon dioxide (hypercapnia), fragmentation
of normal sleeping patterns3
. As such, people with the disease are often have daytime sleepiness which places
them (and others) at high risk of occupational and other accidents; reduces neurocognitive function, and can
place people at higher risk of depressive disorders. OSA is also associated with long-term health problems
such as increased risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease and Alzheimer’s disease. As such, it is
desirable to effectively and efficiently diagnose and treat OSA.

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