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01 Feb 2003 | Australasian Dental Practice

news > Spectrum > Page 16

Sleep apnoea wins the export race

Sydney-based company ResMed, which develops, manufactures and markets products for the diagnosis and management of sleep disordered breathing, has been named both 2002 Australian Made Large Advanced Manufacturer Exporter of the Year and the DHL Exporter of the Year at the Australian Export Awards ceremony recently held in Melbourne.


Almost one in 25 adults - more commonly overweight middle-aged men - have their sleep disturbed by difficulty in breathing. Sufferers slow or stop breathing for short periods while sleeping, resulting in a poor night's sleep and increased tiredness the next day.

Trade Minister Mark Vaile announced the winners at the gala ceremony and Prime Minister John Howard was a special guest.

ResMed's Executive Vice President, Chris Roberts, said the products included a flow-generation device, which delivers air at low pressure to the upper airways through a special tube attached to a nose-mask. This is worn during sleep to keep the upper airway open during deep sleep.

"This treatment prevents disrupted sleep and abolishes snoring," Dr Roberts said.

Reducing alcohol consumption before bedtime, avoiding sleeping on your back and losing weight are other ways which help some people to combat sleep apnoea. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to help unblock the airway during sleep.

Dr Roberts said the idea to produce a device, which "splints the airway open with positive air pressure", was invented in 1981 by Dr Colin Sullivan in Sydney.

"The first one used a vacuum cleaner motor. We have gone a long way since then," he said.

ResMed employs almost 1300 staff worldwide with almost 600 people located in Sydney where the research, development and most of the manufacturing is carried out. The company expects turnover of around $500 million this financial year.

About 96 percent of products are exported to more than 60 countries including the US, Germany, France, Japan, Spain and Italy.

Austrade and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry presented the 2002 Australian Export Awards.

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