Do I need a Sleep Test? What is involved?

To properly diagnose Obstructuve Sleep Apnea (OSA) or other forms of sleep disordered breathing a sleep test is necessary. Sleep tests uses sensors placed on the body to measure breathing functions including breathing, blood oxygen saturation, respiratory effort, body position, and brain activity.

Traditionally sleep tests have been conducted by an attended study in a sleep facility. These attended studies are called Polysomnographs (PSG) and have been used for many years for the diagnosis of sleep disorder breathing, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and other sleeping disorders.

Polysomnograph (PSG)

The advantage to a Polysomnograph (PSG) test is that it usually measures many different bodily systems (such as EEG for brain activity), and often measures more unique body signals than Home Sleep Testing (HST). These additional measurements may give physicians more information to help with diagnosis. Since these tests are constantly monitored by technicians, if there is equipment malfunction during the night, such as a sensor coming loose, it can be addressed immediately without having to repeat the test. Also, if CPAP is used during the PSG it can be applied and adjusted by the technicians while the patient is sleeping.

The disadvantages to the Polysomnograph (PSG) are convenience, costs, access to care, and quality of sleep during the test. You must travel to a sleep lab to have the sleep test, and the test is often very expensive.  It is obviously more desirable and easier to have a sleep test completed in the comfort of your own home. Patients are also less likely to have a typical night’s sleep in a sleep lab (compared to sleeping in your own home). PSG testing can be expensive, whether or not you have medical insurance.

Home Sleep Test (HST)

In 2009 the American Academy of Sleep Medicine approved home testing for the diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Most of our patients choose the Home Sleep Testing (HST) due to the convenience and affordability. You follow simple instructions to attach and wear the device overnight in the comfort of your own home. After returning the device a board certified sleep specialist will interpret the 4 channels of information to provide the results and give a diagnosis.

Home Sleep Tests measure fewer channels than a full PSG, which could potentially result in less accurate diagnosis. Furthermore, CPAP adjustment is not possible with home sleep testing unless an Auto-PAP device is utilized. If the home sleep device is not properly placed on the patient, or if it comes off during sleep, then the test may have to be repeated.

Dental Sleep Pros partners with local sleep testing providers to give you the best options in evaluating your sleep. Dr. Waterman will help you decide what type of sleep testing is right for you and your unique situation.

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