If you or a loved one is suspected to have moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, your physician may suggest a home sleep test, also called an ‘Unattended Sleep Study.’ There are a variety of home sleep apnea testing devices, all with different sensors or pieces of equipment.
Unlike an in-lab sleep study, which may require you to stay awake for an extended amount of time or sleep in an unfamiliar bed, an at home test allows you to remain in the comforts of your own home. Your physician will provide equipment which will collect information about how you breathe while you are asleep. In addition to monitoring your sleep, these devices can measure your blood oxygen level, heart rate, breathing patterns, and other information about your body.
Most home sleep test (HST) devices are portable, about the size of a telephone handset. Some patients worry that the home sleep test equipment will be painful or uncomfortable, but since most of the devices attach with velcro, elastic, or stickers it is painless and unobtrusive.
Usually, sleep tests monitor a specific biologic parameters with a few different devices:
an Oxymeter Finger Probe, which attaches to the fingertip and assists in the evaluation of blood oxygen level.
elastic bands across the chest and abdomen that measure Respiratory Effort
a thin wire near the nose and mouth, resembling an oxygen cannula, that measures Nasal and Oral Airflow
Your doctor will show you how to apply these sensors during your office visit. When you’re ready to begin using the devices at home, you will apply the sensors to the body before you go to sleep. Typically, patients sleep with the equipment for one to three nights. Afterwards, the data from the equipment is downloaded, processed, and given to a sleep physician. Your doctor will meet with you in their office to discuss the results of the home sleep test, and any further action that might be necessary to properly treat the obstructive sleep apnea.
For more information on home sleep testing or to schedule a consultation, call Marvel Clinic at 1-931-455-2005.