When people are suspected of having sleep apnea, there are sleep apnea tests that an determine what type of sleep apnea the patients have and what types of sleep apnea equipment will be able to help them.
These sleep apnea tests are usually performed after the doctor has done a thorough evaluation of the patient, asking questions about the sleeping patterns that he has and also the symptoms that are occurring.
A physical evaluation will be done to help to ensure there are not any other issues that the doctor should be concerned about, and then he will prescribe a sleep apnea test to take the evaluation one step further and make a final diagnosis.
Types of Tests
There are several types of sleep apnea tests that are commonly used. There is a nocturnal polysomnography test in which the patient is monitored through the night with some equipment. The equipment is hooked up so that the patient’s heart, lungs and brain activity is examined while the patient is sleeping.
It monitors the amount of movement that the person does in his sleep. It also keeps track of the blood oxygen levels that are there during the night so that the doctor can determine whether it is an obstructive sleep apnea or a central version.
Another type of sleep apnea test is called oximetry. In this method, the person is hooked up to a machine that will measure the amount of oxygen in the blood while he is sleeping. The nice part of this test is that it can be done at home since the machine only needs a small sleeve to be placed over one of the patient’s fingers to do the test.
The down side to the test is that it does not catch all different types of sleep apnea so further tests will often have to be done to clarify the results, such as using the polysomnogram mentioned above.
One last test that is often used is called a portable cardiorespiratory testing machine. This test is also used at home and it monitors the oxygen levels, the airflow and the breathing patterns of the patient throughout the night.
This test is also nice because it can be done at home and is a little clearer than just doing the oximetry test. However, more tests are often needed with this one as well, and if obstructive sleep apnea is suspected, then the person will often have to go to see an otolaryngologist, or ear, nose and throat doctor.