To properly diagnose Sleep Apnea or other sleep disorders, a patient must undergo a polysomnography (PSG), commonly referred to as a sleep study. This is usually done in a sleep lab, requiring the patient to spend the night at the facility, while the polysomnography (PSG) equipment records their physiological data. Depending on the patients symptoms, other health related issues, and insurance, a home sleep study may be an option.
Comprehensive Sleep Care Center has the area’s top sleep medicine specialists with 9 convenient locations in Virginia and Maryland (Alexandria, Arlington, N. Bethesda, Chantilly, Dumfries, Germantown, Lansdowne, Manassas and Woodbridge). If you think you may have a sleep disorder or are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, our board-certified sleep physicians will discuss treatment options with you and develop a plan.
Home Sleep Apnea Tests (HST)
In some cases, your doctor may provide you with a simplified test to be used at home to diagnose sleep apnea. These tests involve measuring your heart rate, blood oxygen level, airflow and breathing patterns. If you have sleep apnea, the test results will show drops in your oxygen level during apneas and subsequent rises with awakenings.
If the results are abnormal, your doctor may be able to prescribe a therapy without further testing. Unfortunately, Home Sleep Studies also referred to as an HST (Home Sleep Test) don’t detect all cases of sleep apnea. So your doctor may still recommend a polysomnography (PSG) even if your initial results are normal.
Because a Home Sleep Study is used strictly for diagnosing sleep apnea, it requires far less equipment than an in-lab study. The Home Sleep Study Kit comes in a small package that includes a device that is easy for patients to apply themselves. The kit includes:
a small nasal cannula to measure airflow
a belt around the upper chest to measure respiratory effort
a finger clip to measure the oxygen saturation in the blood
Home Sleep Study Tips
You will need to come into the office to pick up the Home Sleep Study Kit. A member of our sleep team will give you instructions on how to use the Home Sleep Study device. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions if there is anything you do not understand.
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
Please do NOT consume beverages or food containing caffeine after 12:00 p.m. on the day of the study
Avoid alcohol after 12:00 pm on the day of your study
Alcohol interferes with your body’s systems in many ways and potentially masks what’s at the heart of your sleep problem
If you’re on any medications, especially ones that affect how you sleep, please discuss with your doctor beforehand about whether you should continue to take them
You should also discuss with your doctor whether you’re allowed to take any over-the-counter sleep-aids
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 (see video below). When you wake up in the morning, you can remove the sensors. You will then need to return the HST device to the office so we can download the information and have our sleep physicians interpret the results.
Below is a video on how to use your home sleep study kit.
You may need to do an additional in-lab sleep study if:
Your home sleep apnea test did not record enough data for a physician to make a complete 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, our board-certified sleep physicians will discuss treatment options with you and develop a plan.
As we continue to navigate the ever-increasing use of Home Sleep Studies, it is paramount to note the importance of being evaluated by an accredited American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) center with board-certified sleep physicians. Working with a facility like Comprehensive Sleep Care Center that maintains the gold standards of accreditation, you can be confident that our testing results and treatment outcomes are being met with the upmost quality of patient care.