Home Sleep Study
A sleep study is the gold standard in confirming a diagnosis of sleep apnea. Sleep Studies consist of either an in lab study(Polysomnography) or an at home sleep study(HST). Both of these tests are useful and have very different roles in evaluating sleep apnea.
Home sleep studies are used to diagnose sleep apnea in the majority of patients. They are convenient and performed in the comfort of your own home. Home sleep testing monitors your breathing, not your actual sleep. The sleep test will not analyze how long you are in light or deep sleep. Instead, it will measure pauses in breathing and the absence of breathing, how much effort it takes to breathe and whether your breathing is shallow.
In order to do this a home sleep study uses sensors to detect your breathing patterns. The sensors include a small probe over your finger that measures oxygen levels. Other sensors are placed on your abdomen and chest to measure their rise and fall as you breathe.
Most at-home sleep tests are used just for one night. It is also less expensive than a sleep study in a hospital.
In some cases, home sleep studies can under diagnose the presence of sleep apnea. Therefore, if you have a negative result, but your clinical suspicion for sleep apnea is high, an in lab study may then be recommended to rule out sleep apnea.