The weather is cooling, the nights are longer and the leaves are changing. So what is changing at the AASM? We are working on a process to update/revise the scoring manual. The rules for scoring were dormant since 1968 R&K until 2007 when the AASM scoring manual was released – but we are not planning on waiting another 39 years to update this one! I received the draft version of the updated respiratory rules this week from the “SAD” taskforce (Sleep Apnea Definitions). This now is headed to the board of directors for their perusal and input.

This has prompted us to think about how we will update the scoring manual going forward. We are pulling together a process that will begin to review the scoring manual on a regular basis. Obviously, making a hard copy of the scoring manual every quarter will not be feasible, so the first step is for the AASM staff to transition the manual to an online version that can be updated electronically on a regular basis. This process is ongoing, and I will be bringing a proposal to the next board meeting that outlines setting up a new committee that will be charged with reviewing the scoring manual regularly and developing a standardized process for revisions.

Another possible innovation will be to work with the AAST to make a companion manual or something similar, to make a more “technologist friendly” version. Future plans may include developing a section on home sleep testing, as this is becoming more and more prominent throughout the country with little guidance except from the manufacturer on how to score the data from these devices.

Once again, we have to be adaptable to change or worry about extinction. We need to continue to reappraise new data and update our processes. New technology, new information on outcomes, new data on scoring algorithms should be regularly reviewed to update our methodology. Thanks to the SAD taskforce for their work and be looking for a synopsis of their work in a future Hypnogram!

Nancy Collop, MD