VirtualSleep.org shares vital information on how polysomnography studies can be used to help diagnose sleep disorders. A polysomnography may be performed either in-lab or at home, depending on patient preference and physician recommendation.
What is polysomnography?
A polysomnography (PSG) is a type of sleep study used to diagnose sleep disorders. Data is gathered by recording brain waves, oxygen levels, heart rate, breathing, and eye movements. This is the most commonly used test to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea and determine the severity.
Benefits of In-Lab Polysomnography
An in-lab study is one of the ways a PSG can be performed. By charting movements and measuring data in person, a sleep doctor is able to evaluate patients more closely. This is beneficial for patients suspected of having more severe cases of sleep apnea and other sleep-related issues.
Signals Monitored for Optimal Recording
During the in-lab PSG, a polysomnographic technologist (PRSGT) is present to perform and monitor the procedure. The PRSGT ensures the test runs smoothly and the patient follows instructions. An in-lab study uses more sensors than a home test, so it is important to make sure all the equipment is set up properly.
Diagnose More Complex Sleep Disorders
In-lab studies monitor brain waves, which is the reason patients need to wear more sensors compared to home tests. This results in data that is typically more accurate and can provide results for other sleep conditions in addition to sleep apnea. This is beneficial for patients exhibiting more severe symptoms.
Prepare For In-Lab Polysomnography
With an in-lab study, the patient spends the night at the facility and the procedure is performed overnight. Many facilities offer high-quality bedding and furniture to create a comfortable environment for the patients.
However, in-lab studies may be costly and inconvenient compared to home tests. On average, patients should be prepared to spend $3,000 or more for an in-lab study. It may also be expensive to travel if the facility is far away, and it generally takes several weeks to be scheduled for an appointment.
Further Reading: How to Future-Proof Your Sleep Center
Convenience of Polysomnography at Home
Thanks to modern technological advancements, a PSG can be performed at home. The home sleep test is usually more efficient and cost-effective for patients compared to visiting a lab. However, the accuracy of results largely depends on patient compliance since the test is self-administered.
Cost and Convenience
Home sleep tests are becoming much more affordable for both providers and patients than ever before. The testing equipment is roughly the size of a cell phone, which makes it simple for a patient to operate.
This gives providers an effective method to treat the maximum amount of patients possible in a given time frame. Additionally, patients now have an affordable alternative to an in-lab study, which may no longer be necessary for less severe cases.
Related Reading: Transformation of Home Sleep Testing
Comfort and Accessibility
Sleeping in a different environment can affect a patient’s quality of sleep. With an at-home PSG, the patient takes the test for their own bed instead of visiting a lab. Therefore, they will be comfortable in their surroundings and be able to take the test without significantly altering their nightly routine.
Advanced technology has made the setup process much simpler than it was previously. In past decades, test results often came back inconclusive due to device malfunctions and improper setup. However, sensors today are extremely advanced and make the process both convenient and comfortable for patients at home.
Finally, the scheduling process is another major reason why patients prefer taking tests at home instead of in a sleep lab. Sleep labs often require patients to schedule far in advance and possibly on an inconvenient date for the patient. Availability is limited and there is high demand, so patients may not have a wide range of scheduling options for in-lab studies.
Home tests completely eliminate the need to schedule lab visits to perform a PSG. The patient receives a direct shipment through the mail, sets up the device at home, and performs the test at a convenient time in order to receive results.
Conduct a Polysomnography Study
Sleep labs are looking to optimize operations around the country. Given that sleep apnea affects over 26% of adults ages 30-70 in the United States, using a home sleep test instead of a PSG saves both patients and providers time and money.
A home sleep test device that’s easy-to-use and connects patients and doctors with a smartphone application can be the difference in quickly reaching a sleep apnea diagnosis. To learn more about using this testing method, start a conversation with our team today.