It can be tough getting used to positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy to manage your obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). You may feel overwhelmed or have a lot of questions: Does my mask fit correctly? Am I really doing this right? My sinuses feel dry – is that normal? That is why Cleveland Clinic’s Sleep Disorders Center has created the Sleep Apnea Management (SAM) Clinic to address common PAP treatment problems conveniently and promptly. The SAM Clinic is dedicated to helping patients successfully use PAP therapy. It is our goal to help you feel comfortable and confident using PAP. While experience may vary, successful use of PAP therapy can greatly reduce sleepiness, fatigue and irritability while increasing energy level, alertness, mood and quality of sleep within a week. PAP therapy is proven to reduce the long-term risks of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Who is the Sleep Apnea Management (SAM) Clinic for?

The SAM Clinic is designed to give patients who are beginning PAP therapy quick access to one-on-one help for any questions or problems that could interfere with them regularly using their therapy on a nightly basis at home.

How does it work?

The SAM Clinic is an innovative and interactive approach to healthcare that brings patients with common needs together with healthcare providers such as a nurse, nurse practitioner, physician and/or durable medical equipment (DME) representative, in one room to provide the most efficient service.

Each session begins with a discussion about OSA and PAP. Patients have the opportunity to share stories, ideas and relate to others dealing with similar health issues. Afterward, a Cleveland Clinic sleep physician or nurse practitioner sees patients for individualized care. The session can include discussions with the DME representative if a patient is experiencing problems with the PAP equipment.

How can the SAM Clinic help me?

Our experts can help you with multiple issues that could interfere with your success using PAP therapy, including:

  • Yearly checkups
  • Compliance checks
  • PAP problem solving with a clinician
  • Post-polysomnography (PSG) review of findings and therapy treatment
  • Mask complaints including poor fit, shifting or getting dislodged as you change positions during sleep, leaks, skin irritation/scratching and claustrophobia
  • Lifestyle issues such as traveling with PAP, using PAP while watching TV or reading, and its interfering with intimacy
  • Nasal issues including blockage, congestion, dryness and nosebleeds
  • Pressure issues that differ when you inhale and exhale

How should I prepare for a SAM Clinic visit?

To make the most of your visit, know your apnea hypopnea index (AHI), which is a measure of OSA severity, and PAP pressure setting. Also, come with a list of questions or issues you are experiencing. If you are having a specific equipment problem, it may be helpful for you to bring in the machine or mask itself so that it can be looked at by the clinician or a DME representative. Also, consider bringing your caretaker or bed partner with you.

How long will I need to attend the SAM Clinic?

You can continue to attend our clinic until you feel confident using PAP regularly at home. Our team is committed to making sure you can properly hook up the equipment and are as comfortable as possible during therapy.