Memorial Health System on Treatment for Sleep Apnea – LIVING WELL Magazine

Treatment for Sleep Apnea

Courtesy Memorial Health System, Colorado Springs LIVING WELL Magazine

John Mrozek remembers the day that his cardiologist asked him a simple question: “John, do you snore?’’

Mrozek said he did not, but his wife, Dawn Ackerman, who was in the exam room when the doctor asked the question, started laughing.

“Are you kidding?’’ she said. “I’m surprised NORAD hasn’t called.’’

The cardiologist recommended that Mrozek have a sleep study done at Memorial Health System’s Sleep Disorders Center.

Mrozek, a doctor who had to quit practicing medicine in 1995 after he suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident on Interstate 25, had heard enough about sleep studies and awkward-fitting CPAP – Continuous Positive Air Pressure – masks to know that he wasn’t a fan.

“I had to be dragged kicking and pulling. I really didn’t want to do this,’’ Mrozek said.

Nevertheless, he had a sleep study done last year at Memorial. During a sleep study, a polysomnogram painlessly records the biophysiological changes that occur during sleep. The polysomnogram records brain activity, muscle and eye movements, breathing and heart rates during sleep. A professional analyzes the results of the sleep study and delivers the results to your doctor.

Snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, a disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. Mrozek’s sleep study showed that he actually stopped breathing several times during sleep.

Other signs and symptoms of sleep disorders include:

  • Daytime fatigue and sleepiness
  • High blood pressure
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Falling asleep at inappropriate times
  • Excessive leg movements during sleep
  • Morning headaches
  • Nightmares/night terrors
  • Waking up due to snoring, choking, urination, gasping for breath

After Mrozek had his sleep study at Memorial, a doctor prescribed a CPAP machine, which blows air at a pressure high enough to keep the airway open.

In a letter to Memorial, Mrozek wrote that the key to CPAP is getting a mask that fits properly. He was grateful for a technician named John, who painstakingly worked to fit John with the best mask.

“As the medical field seems to be getting less user-friendly and there seems to be a decrease in professionalism, I was lucky enough to get a sleep study technician by the name of John,’’ Mrozek said. “John spent an enormous amount of time explaining the different kinds of masks and addressing, in detail, my concerns about the problems my friend had experience with CPAP. “One has to wonder how many people give up on CPAP despite the fact that they need it because they did not receive the kind of personal attention John gave me,’’ Mrozek wrote.

Mrozek said that since he has been on the CPAP machine at night, he requires less sleep and his blood pressure has decreased. “I feel much better now.’’


Memorial’s sleep center is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, which means that Memorial meets “the highest standards of quality patient care,’’ according to the AASM.

Many insurance providers cover sleep services only if they are performed in an AASM-accredited facility. Memorial’s sleep specialists are board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the gold standard by which sleep medicine specialists are compared.

The center provides hotel-like accommodations to help patients fall asleep in a cozy, modern environment. Rooms are equipped for comfort, with luxurious 620-thread-count sheets and flat-screen televisions. All rooms have spa-like private baths with plush, over-sized towels.

Memorial’s Adult Sleep Disorders Center is located on the fourth floor of Medical Office Building One, 4110 Briargate Parkway, Suite 445, on the campus of Memorial Hospital North.