Hurricanes impact patients’ ability to use positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy not only during but also before and after the storm, according to a scientific investigation by University of Miami Miller School of Medicine researchers published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Dr. Chediak said Hurricane Katrina, a powerful hurricane that made landfall in Southeast Louisiana in August 2005, prompted him to ask how obstructive sleep apnea and other patients who rely on at-home equipment could continue treatment through a natural disaster.

“I learned back then that the infrastructure was a problem. If you are trying to import sleep apnea machines, more masks, more equipment, how do you move it into the area and identify the people that need it?” he said. “The good news is much has changed in sleep medicine since Hurricane Katrina. For example, today’s machines can be managed and tracked through an internet portal, which allows insight into the need for assistance.”

There also is greater access to different power sources, from special batteries to generators, that can help keep equipment up and running, according to Dr. Chediak.