Category Archives: Sleep Apnea Test

The Most Famous Tests for Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

At one time or another, conducting a sleep study will be recommended for most Sleep Apnea patients. There are many different kinds of sleep studies, and they are used to identify sleeping disorders in patients all over the world. For Sleep Apnea patients however, there are five main types of sleeping studies that are usually recommended.


 Polysomnography is the most basic field of sleep study. The polysomnogram is the most commonly administered sleep study for Sleep Apnea patients. Administering this test first can usually diagnose Sleep Apnea and rule out the possibilities of numerous other problems. Polysomnography can also be used to identify Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, Parasomnia, Narcolepsy, and REM behavioral disorders.

The sleeper spends an entire night at the sleep center and sleeps attached to a machine through various electrode wires. The different wires attaches to the body measure different channels of activity in the sleeper including: leg movements, chin tone, muscle tone, heart rate, heart rhythm, eye movement, oxygen saturation, airflow, chest movement, and abdomen movement. A computer attached to the machine receives the data through the wires, records, and analyzes the data. The information recorded by the computer is analyzed by the sleep specialist and determines different characteristics of the patient’s sleep: onset sleep latency, sleep stages, sleep efficiency, body positioning, arousals, irregularities in breath and heart, and movements.

CPAP Titration

Like a polysomnogram, a CPAP titration test also measures the same basic characteristics. The key difference, however, is that a CPAP titration test is administered over two nights in accordance with the assistance of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine. On the first night, a basic polysomnogram is conducted; if need be, CPAP treatment is administered on the second night of evaluation. 

The test administrator will set the CPAP machine at a specific air pressure and patients receive the air pressure through a nasal mask. The physician then records the effects of the CPAP treatment on the patient. When conducting a CPAP titration test, it is vital that the patient have a well-fitted mask and that the test is completely customized to fir their needs. This test can help a medical professional identify the most beneficial level of airflow needed of a patient. In addition to identifying Sleep Apnea, CPAP titration is also used by current apnea patients who have been using the same machine for an extended period of time. Physicians suggest that CPAP users get their machines re-titrated once a year.

Split Night

The Split Night sleep study is similar to a CPAP titration test. Like the titration test, a Split Night study consists of a basic polysomnogram and CPAP titration. The Split Night study, however, is administered over one night. The patient receives a polysomnogram during the first period of sleep; CPAP titration is administered over the second half of the night. 

There are positive and negative benefits to having a Split Night test administered. Of course, it is much more convenient to spend a single night in a sleep laboratory instead of two, but splitting one night of sleep into two tests can be less conclusive. Obstructive Sleep Apnea patients who use CPAP therapy and conduct a Split Night test are more likely to have inconclusive results. 

When determining CPAP titration, it is more difficult to accurately identify the best pressure for the machine in half the time. Talk to the sleep center prior to deciding which test is right for you. Sleep specialists will be able to help you weigh your options and chose the test that’s right for you. 

Multiple Sleep Latency Test

An interesting test, the Multiple Sleep Latency Test is used to determine the amount of time that accumulates between the time that a patients attempts to sleep, and the first signs of actual sleep. Not only is this test used for diagnosing sleeping disorders like Sleep Apnea, Narcolepsy, and Insomnia, the MSLT can be used to determine whether or not current treatments are effective. 

The main purpose of the MSLT is to measure sleepiness in patients. MSLTs are generally performed the day after a polysomnogram or CPAP titration tests. During the approximately seven hour test, the patient is given multiple opportunities to nap for twenty minutes. Usually, four or five nap opportunities are given every two hours. The patient is asked to nap for twenty minutes, then they are awakened, and different changes in the body are recorded and analyzed. 

Maintenance of Wakefulness Test

Like the Multiple Sleep Latency Test, the Maintenance of Wakefulness Test is performed during the day, usually the day after a Polysomnogram. The MWT is used to determine the patient’s ability to stay awake, energized, and alert during waking hours. A MWT test is meant to be administered without any outside influences that could affect your sleeping patterns.

The patient is placed in a quiet room with a comfortable temperate. Sensors are placed on different parts of the body and can determine whether or not the patient is asleep. MWTs usually begin a few hours after sleeping. The patient is placed in a bed with pillows to support the neck and head. While a physician watches in a nearby room, the patient is asked to sit up straight, remain still, and look directly in front of them.

The goal of the patient is to try and remain awake as long as possible. If the patient does fall asleep, medical professionals will wake the patient up and keep them awake for around a minute and thirty seconds. If the patient has not fallen asleep within the first forty minutes of each session, the session will be stopped.

The goal of the test is to identify the patient’s ability to stay awake in circumstances that may cause sleepiness, and to determine if their likelihood of falling asleep is a danger to the patient or others around them. Personal and public safety can be a serious concern for Sleep Apnea patients who suffer from extreme daytime sleepiness and fatigue. 

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