At-Home Sleep Apnea Testing: As Easy as 1, 2, ZZZZ
- The Crozer-Keystone Sleep Centers now offer at-home sleep apnea testing, which enables people to be tested for this common sleep disorder in the privacy and comfort of their own homes. At-home testing is intended for patients who are believed to have sleep apnea and who are otherwise generally healthy.
- According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million American adults have sleep apnea.
- If left untreated, sleep apnea has been linked to health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Does your loud snoring keep others awake at night? Are you falling asleep at your desk or overloading on caffeine just to make it through the day? If you answered yes, you may be a candidate for at-home sleep apnea testing—a new Crozer-Keystone service that enables qualifying patients to be tested for this common sleep disorder in the comfort and privacy of their own homes.
At-home testing is specifically intended for patients who are believed to have sleep apnea and who “are otherwise generally healthy,” explains Calvin Stafford, M.D., medical director of the Crozer-Keystone Sleep Center at Taylor Hospital. This includes patients whose weight is within normal limits and who have no other major medical problems (such as diabetes, heart disease and others).
According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million American adults have sleep apnea. Chances are you’ve probably heard a friend or relative, maybe even your own spouse, in the midst of a sleep apnea episode. It might begin with loud snoring, then a brief silence, and then a loud snort or gasping sound. During those silent pauses, airflow stops temporarily, depriving organs of oxygen until the brain reminds the body to breathe and jolts the system back into action.
Immediate effects of sleep apnea may include problems like tiredness and concentration. “If left untreated, sleep apnea has been linked to a number
of other health conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke,” says Asad Khan, M.D., medical director of the Crozer-Keystone Sleep Center at Brinton Lake.
“Sleep apnea is a very under-diagnosed condition,” notes Michael Weinstein, M.D.,
medical director of the Crozer-Keystone Sleep Center at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. “If sleep apnea is suspected, people should be tested.”
So how does at-home testing work?
There may be many reasons why people might be experiencing sleep-related problems, so it is important to be evaluated by a sleep physician to determine if a sleep apnea test is needed. “Before any testing is ordered, a clinician must have a clear idea of the question needing an answer,” Stafford says.
For patients who are prescribed an at-home sleep apnea test, the process is simple. Patients are simply asked to:
Visit one of Crozer-Keystone’s Sleep Centers the evening before their test with their doctor’s test prescription. There, they will meet with a dedicated technician, who will prepare their testing device and set them up with the equipment. This takes just a matter of minutes and essentially entails administering a finger probe and a belt that is worn around the patient’s chest.
Sleep for one night with the equipment, which is totally ready to go when patients leave the Sleep Center, so they don’t need to do a thing.
Return the equipment the next morning to the Sleep Center, where their results are scored by a polysomnographic technician and reviewed by a board-certified sleep physician, who then shares the diagnosis with the patient.
Patients may visit any of Crozer-Keystone’s Sleep Centers located at Brinton Lake in Glen Mills, Delaware County Memorial Hospital in Drexel Hill, and Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park. A case worker walks each patient through the entire process, and flexible scheduling is available (evening appointments usually best accommodate patients’ sleep needs).
Total sleep care for kids and adults
Established in 1978, Crozer-Keystone's multidisciplinary sleep program is the oldest accredited program for the evaluation of patients with sleep-related problems in the Greater Delaware Valley. Along with at-home sleep apnea testing, comprehensive inpatient testing is provided at all sleep centers for a number of sleep-related issues (including sleep apnea testing for individuals who do not qualify for the at-home option). State-of-the-art care and services are provided for adults and children six months and older.
Vatsala Ramprasad, M.D., chief pediatric medical adviser overseeing pediatric studies in all Crozer-Keystone Sleep Center locations, notes that at-home sleep apnea studies are not appropriate for young children;
however, she said her office regularly sees young patients for snoring associated with adenotonsillar hypertrophy. This condition involves enlarged adenoids and tonsils and is among the leading causes of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) in children.
Quality, not quantity
Young or old, we all need sleep to perform at our best.
“With today’s 24-hour technology, we often find ourselves burning the candle from both ends,” says Don Fahy, director of Clinical and Business Development for the Crozer-Keystone Sleep Centers. “While changing our habits may be hard, taking the time to identify and treat our sleep issues can make a big difference by improving the quality of the sleep we do get.”
If you think you may have a sleep disorder or wish to inquire about an at-home sleep apnea study, call the Crozer-Keystone Sleep Centers at 1-888-SLEEP-03 (1-888-753-3703). Our sleep technicians are available 24 hours a day. Visit http://sleepcenters.crozerkeystone.org for more information about the Sleep Centers.