Home Sleep Test and Sleep Apnea Sleep Study Testing

What is a Home Sleep Test or HST (Sleep Apnea Sleep Study)?

A home sleep test (HST) is a sleep study tool that is used for the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea. Most HST devices are portable – about the size of a telephone handset. Home sleep testing is also called ‘Unattended Sleep Study’.

They usually measure the following biologic parameters:

  • Nasal and Oral Airflow – by thin wire that is taped by the nose and mouth – some sensors look like an oxygen cannula.
  • Respiratory Effort – by elastic belt bands that are placed across the chest and abdomen.
  • Oxymeter Finger Probe – a small clip-like device that attaches to the finger tip and emits a red light that assists in the evaluation of oxygen levels in the blood while sleeping.




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Person with sleep study unit


A patient is usually ordered a home sleep test or ‘Sleep Study‘ by his or her doctor who suspects that the individual has obstructive sleep apnea. The patient usually applies the above mentioned sensors to the body before sleep time and sleeps with the equipment for 1 – 3 nights. The equipment is returned to the diagnostic service company where the data is downloaded and processed for interpretation by a sleep physician.

Once the data is interpreted by a sleep physician, a diagnostic interpretation report is sent back to the ordering physician who discusses the results of the home sleep testing.


Alternative to Home Sleep Testing

The other diagnostic tool for the evaluation of obstructive sleep apnea is Polysomnography. Polysomnography or PSG is a diagnostic test that uses the same sensors as HST but also includes EEG, EKG, EMG, and other biologic measurements in a laboratory setting with sleep technician or sleep technologist. This test is often three times more expensive than HST.

Home sleep study equipment
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Home Sleep Test




How Much Does Home Sleep Testing For Sleep Apnea Cost?

The cost of a home sleep study, at home sleep study, and use of home sleep study equipment, varies. It often costs between $150 – $500. The costs is often covered by most insurance companies. However, the patient most have the symptoms and meet ‘medical necessity’ for a test. Medicare, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, and most other insurance companies cover home sleep testing for sleep apnea.

Frequently Asked Questions about Home Sleep Study Testing for sleep apnea:

How long do you wear the HST equipment for?

Answer: Usually, you were the HST equipment for 1-2 nights. A sleep apnea sleep study diagnosis can often be made during this period of time.

Is HST uncomfortable or painful?

No, home sleep testing equipment usually attaches to the body by velcro, elastic, and sometimes stickers.

Which is better, home sleep test (HST) or polysomnography (PSG)?

Each type of test has its benefits and disadvantages. HST is more convenient and less expensive. PSG collects more data and is attended by a technologist.

How do I get a Home Sleep Study for Sleep Apnea?

Talk to your doctor. If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, your doctor might order a home sleep test. There are several sleep centers, home sleep study companies, and home sleep test businesses that offer this diagnostic test.


 Video on home sleep test, sleep study for sleep apnea.



Summary: Information on sleep apnea test, otherwise known as ‘apnea test’, and how to test for sleep apnea.

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