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Sleep Studies: Coming to a Home Near You
If you suspect you may have a sleep or wakefulness disorder and have put off getting a sleep study because you're uncomfortable with the idea of spending a night in a medical facility, hooked up to monitoring equipment—there’s good news. The Sleep Clinics at St. Joseph and St. Mary’s Medical Centers now provide home testing.
Home sleep testing is gaining in popularity, partly because it's often easier for the patient and less expensive. Some health insurance companies are now requiring the home testing, prior to a clinic procedure, in an effort to curb costs.
“It’s not as complete as a study done in the lab,” says Andy Portwood, sleep clinician at St. Mary’s. “But it does give us good information. It measures airflow, heart rate and oxygen saturation and could be used for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea.”
Portwood adds, the home test must be ordered and supervised by a treating physician.
The test kit consists of a recording unit and six wired connections, compared with 25 connections in a sleep lab study. The unit is returned to Carondelet Health labs for analysis and recommendations.
“Our test patients have been surprised how easy it was to use the at-home equipment—and how easy it was to actually sleep with it,” says Portwood. “It is a good first step to diagnosis and the treatment of sleep apnea.”
An estimated 50 -70 million U.S. adults have a sleep or wakefulness disorder—the most common is sleep apnea. People who experience sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality and reduced quality of life and productivity.