Sleep Apnea Testing Questions and Answers
Michael Twyman, MD offers a clinically validated and reliable Home Sleep Test for Sleep Apnea. Learn about the WatchPAT One and how we can help at Apollo Cardiology today. Call or Book an Appointment Online Now. We serve patients in St. Louis, MO and surrounding areas of Richmond Heights, MO, Clayton, MO, and Maplewood, MO.
Where can I get a diagnosis for sleep apnea?
Getting a sleep apnea diagnosis may depend on various factors, including access to a primary care provider, the specifics of your health insurance plan, or the advice of a specialist. Sleep apnea is quite common, and it often goes undiagnosed for a long period of time. The symptoms resulting from sleep apnea, most commonly fatigue felt throughout the day, can easily be attributed to other health issues, or simply accepted as part of your life. Many people may not know that feeling constantly tired or waking up without feeling rested, even after adequate hours of sleep, is not always normal. Quality sleep is crucial to our overall health, and leaving sleep apnea undiagnosed and untreated can have a negative impact on your long-term health.
What testing is involved with sleep apnea?
For a sleep apnea diagnosis, you may have heard about nocturnal polysomnography, commonly known as a sleep test. This is usually conducted at a hospital or clinic, and involves attaching various equipment to your body to monitor your sleep throughout the night. Though potentially effective, the issue with these tests is that they are often a significant inconvenience to you as a patient. They involve having to spend a night away from home and in a foreign environment, which automatically impacts the quality of your sleep, regardless of whether or not you have sleep apnea. These types of tests can also be quite expensive, depending on your health insurance plan and where you have the test done.
At Apollo Cardiology, we use an at-home, patient-led test for sleep apnea called the WatchPAT One. The WatchPAT is an FDA-approved device that uses something known as peripheral arterial tonometry (where the PAT acronym comes from) to screen for both types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or central sleep apnea (CSA). A breadth of research in various medical journals has shown that the WatchPAT One is very useful in detecting sleep apnea, and better yet, it is easy and convenient for you to use at home.
After a consultation and appointment with us, we will give you the WatchPAT device to bring home, where you’ll attach it to yourself before you go to bed. The data gathered by the device overnight will then be analyzed by one of our professional team members, and a clear diagnosis of sleep apnea, as well as what type, will be able to be determined. Using the WatchPat is simple and intuitive, as it involves attaching three pieces: the chest sensor, a bracelet (on your non-dominant hand), as well as a finger attachment known as a finger probe.
Is the sleep apnea test effective for everyone?
The WatchPAT One is effective for most patients suffering from sleep apnea. The device was approved by the FDA more than a decade ago for sleep apnea testing, and it is a much easier, more convenient method than a traditional sleep test. The WatchPAT measures various things as you sleep, including:
- Our natural human rest and activity cycles, including REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and real/actual sleep time
- Your body position
- Your chest motion
- Heart rate
- The oxygen saturation level of the blood, something known as pulse-oximetry
- Your snoring
With all of these measurements, the WatchPAT One can determine how you score on various scales, the main one being the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), which is one of the main ways to diagnose sleep apnea.
Do I need a referral for a sleep apnea test?
For a sleep apnea test at Apollo Cardiology, you do not need a referral. While other primary care providers may be able to provide a referral for you, it can often take a long time to be seen by a sleep specialist and have a sleep test conducted. Our clinic can offer a consultation appointment and then provide the WatchPAT One if we determine it is right for you and your situation.