Are In-Lab Sleep Studies More Accurate Than A Home Sleep Test?

The field of sleep medicine has changed dramatically in the last few years with the development of Home Sleep Testing (HST) for the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Snoring vs. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

As a matter of background, snoring is a condition where there is resistance to airflow through the upper airway while sleeping creating vibration and noise production. When the resistance to the airflow is great enough to create cessation of airflow, it is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Depending on the frequency that cessation of airflow occurs the obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is considered mild / moderate / or severe. OSA will lead to a variety of serious health issues such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Home Sleep Test vs. In-Lab Sleep Test

Although a sleep study can be used to diagnose many conditions besides obstructive sleep apnea, the vast majority of sleep studies are performed specifically to evaluate if the patient has OSA.

Studies have demonstrated that a Type 3 Home Sleep Test (HST) device is as accurate as an in-lab study for the diagnoses of OSA. In fact, it may be more accurate as it tests the patient in their natural sleep environment and allows them to sleep in any position.

These Type 3 HST devices are simple to put on and are not cumbersome. They measure respiratory effort by a small belt like a heart rate monitor around the chest. There is a clip for your finger, serving as a pulse oximeter, to measure oxygen saturation and heart rate. It also contains a device, as part of the chest belt, that measures movement and sleep position. Lastly, a small nasal cannula rests at your nostrils, similar to a cannula for oxygen delivery. This cannula measure airflow from breathing.

Simply put, if the patient is having respiratory effort with a drop in airflow and oxygen concentration in the blood or near-total cessation of airflow, these episodes are indicative of OSA.

The HST device is given to our patients as part of the evalution and they can be tested that night in their own bed. When the patient drops the device back to the office the next day we are able to analyze all of the patient’s sleep from that night using sophisticated software. We can then relay to the patient if OSA is present and the severity of the condition.

Schedule a Consultation

In our office, we offer many options for the treatment of OSA, tailored to the specific causes for that patient and their desires.

If you have been worried that you or a loved one has OSA, and have held off testing to avoid going to a sleep lab or the thought that CPAP was the only treatment choice, understand that we now can diagnose this condition easily and offer a variety of choices for treatment. Contact our office to schedule a consultation.

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