A Answers (2)
Craig Schwimmer, MD, Otolaryngology, answeredYES! Home sleep testing is an affordable, convenient option for many patients with snoring and suspected sleep apnea. While in-lab testing remains the "gold standard" way to assess sleep disorders, for many patients with suspected sleep apnea, home testing represents a more convenient, more affordable, and more representitive study. If your doctor has recommended a sleep study but you haven't done it because it was too expensive, too uncomfortable, or too difficult to schedule, ask if a home based study is an option for you.
Phil Westbrook, Sleep Medicine, answered
Yes, you can have the diagnostic test for sleep apnea in your own bed at home.
Until recently almost all sleep studies for sleep apnea were done in a laboratory at a sleep disorders center. There are historical, technological, and financial reasons for this. The examination of someone while they were sleeping was for many years done only in major academic centers. The recording equipment was massive, and the sensors used were complex, requiring trained technicians to be in attendance. Home sleep testing initially was not very practical or proven and was considered "experimental" by insurers, which means they would not pay for it.
Technology has allowed the development of small wearable recorders and sensors that can be self applied by just about anyone. The home sleep test (HST) devices can be picked up at your doctor's office or mailed to you. All the signals required to determine whether or not you have sleep apnea, the type of sleep apnea you have, and its severity, can be recorded. The best HST systems have been extensively scientifically validated. They allow review of the entire recording by a sleep medicine expert. The systems incorporate computer programs that can help identify abnormal events, decreasing the time required for review, and allowing for very rapid reporting of results. At least one of the new HST recorders even can alert you and tell you what to do if your recording device needs adjustment in the middle of the night. It is like having a tiny technologist on your forehead.
Besides being patient friendly, the advantages of a HST include significantly lower cost. Almost everyone suspected of having sleep apnea can be studied at home. The exceptions are if your doctor thinks you might have some sleep disorder in addition to or instead of sleep apnea. If you have a condition that requires someone to attend you at night, for example if you have limited use of your hands so that you could not apply the required recording devices, a laboratory study would be indicated. If you have severe heart or lung disease or if you require oxygen when you sleep, you should probably have a laboratory study.
The decision to have a HST or a laboratory study will be up to you and your doctor. In most cases you should be able to have the test where you want it.Helpful? 4 people found this helpful.