Home Sleep Apnea Testing – Overview
Home sleep apnea testing provides a board certified sleep medicine physician with the information he or she needs to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea. It allows you to sleep at home wearing equipment that collects information about how you breathe during sleep. You will usually set up the testing equipment yourself.
There are a variety of home sleep apnea testing devices that have different sensors and equipment. These devices measure your breathing and blood oxygen level. Some also may measure your heart rate or other information about your body.
Home sleep apnea testing is used to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea. A physician may recommend home sleep testing if:
• It is highly likely that you have moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea
• You have no significant medical conditions other than the suspected obstructive sleep apnea
You should not have a home sleep test if:
• You do not have a high risk of obstructive sleep apnea
• The physician suspects you may have another sleep disorder
• You have certain medical conditions including pulmonary diseases, neuromuscular diseases or congestive heart failure
In these cases, your physician may recommend an in-lab sleep study instead of a home sleep apnea test. An in-lab sleep study provides the most complete evaluation of your sleep.
Home Sleep Apnea Testing – Testing Process & Results
A home sleep apnea test is designed to be a convenient way to collect information about your sleep. On the day of your test:
• Try to follow your regular routine as much as possible.
• Avoid napping
• Eliminate use of caffeine after lunch
If you are on a regular medication, speak with your board-certified sleep medicine physician. Your doctor may recommend that you temporarily discontinue using the medication.
Before your home sleep apnea test, you may have to go to the doctor’s office to pick up the equipment. Alternatively, someone may deliver the home sleep apnea test to your home.
A member of the sleep team will give you instructions on how to use the home sleep apnea test device. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions if there is anything you do not understand.
You can go to sleep at your regular bedtime. When you are ready to sleep, you will attach the sensors to your body as instructed. You may be asked to keep a sleep log or to press a button on the machine when you get into bed. When you wake up in the morning, you can remove the sensors. You may have to take the device back to the sleep center or return it by mail.
Members of the sleep team will score and interpret the information collected through home sleep apnea testing. This may take several days or weeks. The board certified sleep physician will contact you to discuss the results. If the results are unclear, the physician may recommend an in-lab sleep study.
You may need an additional in-lab sleep study if:
• Your home sleep apnea test did not record enough data for a physician to make a diagnosis
• Your home sleep apnea test results indicate that you do not have obstructive sleep apnea and the physician suspects another sleep disorder
If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, the board certified sleep physician will discuss treatment options with you and develop a plan.