Aidan Laverty – Sleep Physiology

Aidan Laverty uses his computing skills to help children get a better night’s rest. And his job as a sleep physiologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children has even taken him up Everest.

Many of the children that come to this world famous hospital from all over Britain have rare diseases and some, like those with problems affecting their face or neck, have trouble with their breathing when they’re asleep. They may even briefly stop breathing altogether. This wakes them, preventing them getting the sleep they need for rest and growth. Aidan runs the sleep studies unit where each year over 1000 children are monitored overnight while they sleep. As at least 12 different bits of information, such as blood oxygen and heart rate, are collected continuously over an eight hour period – it’s a huge amount of data.

Making sense of all this information is critical, because a precise diagnosis must be made if a child is to be treated successfully. The sleep data also needs to be accessible to staff involved in their care and, because most of these children have been referred from other hospitals, needs to include their referral notes too as well as patient advice. Aidan devised a software package that does it all in one seamless, easy to use web based package. Without it, Great Ormond Street’s sleep unit couldn’t function or assess so many children. Aidan isn’t just locked in a room with a computer screen. “I see children every day. For me, it’s my ideal job because it involves patient contact and computing”.

Aidan is also involved with developing web based databases for children with rare breathing disorders and when someone was needed to make sense of data gathered by the Xtreme Everest expedition, including a group of children, Aidan was the man who travelled near to base camp and made it easier.



Profile courtesy of Chief Scientific Officer, Department of Health – Professor Sue Hill