What is a Sleep Study?
A sleep study is test performed to evaluate sleep and sleep disorders. Usually, the test is used to diagnose or exclude sleep apnea. However, there are other reasons that a sleep study might be ordered. A laboratory sleep study is also called polysomnography. Recently Home Sleep Test (HST) has become popular. HST measures less parameters and is just used for sleep apnea testing.
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.
- EEG – brainwaves
- EKG – heart rhythm
- EMG – muscle movement
- EOG – eye movement
- Snore microphone
- Video monitoring
A sleep study is usually ordered by the primary care doctor who suspects that the individual has a sleep disorder. 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. A sleep technologist will score the sleep study who then prepares it for interpretation by a sleep physician.
Once the sleep study 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. The sleep diagnostic equipment is much more complex.
How Much Does a Sleep Study Cost?
The cost of an in laboratory sleep study varies. It often costs between $650 – $1800. 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 sleep studies for sleep apnea.
Frequently Asked Questions about Home Sleep Study Testing for sleep apnea:
How long is the sleep study?
Answer: A sleep study usually lasts one night.
Is a sleep study uncomfortable or painful?
No, 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.
Pictures of Sleep study equipment:
- What is Sleep Apnea?
- Sleep Apnea Signs and Symptoms
- Sleep Apnea – Diagnosis
- What is CPAP?
- Support groups
- Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea
- What is a PAP-NAP?
- Message Board / Forums
How do I get a Home Sleep Study for Sleep Apnea?
If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, your doctor might order a sleep study or home sleep test. There are several sleep centers, diagnostic laboratories, home sleep study companies, and home sleep test businesses that offer this sleep test.
Once your doctor has ordered a study, you will likely be instructed to visit a sleep center where the test will be initiated.
If you are having a home sleep test for sleep apnea testing, a sleep technologist or other sleep professional will possibly present to you a kit that you will bring home. In the container will be the home sleep study computer, an airflow monitor, a finger oximeter probe, a flexible belt that goes around your waist, and tape or other securing items.
It is important that you follow all instructions so that the quality of the data recording is adequate. If the data is not adequate, a repeat evaluation might be ordered, and the process would need to be repeated. How to Interpret Sleep Study Results.
If you are having the sleep evaluation in the sleep laboratory, you will given a different set of instructions. It is important to follow all of the instructions so that quality of the data is adequate.
Summary: What is a sleep study? Where to get a sleep study / sleep test. Cost, prices, and other information on sleep testing for sleep apnea and home sleep tests.
Having a sleep study is an imperative part of the diagnosis of many sleep disorders. Talk to your doctor if you think that you need a sleep study.