Sleep studies are offered by appointment at Fairfield Memorial Hospital to determine if a patient has obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is an involuntary cessation of breathing that occurs while the patient is asleep. There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed. Of the three, obstructive sleep apnea, often called OSA for short, is the most common.
Left untreated, sleep apnea can have serious and life-shortening consequences: high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, automobile accidents caused by falling asleep at the wheel, diabetes, depression, and other ailments.
A major symptom of sleep apnea is extremely loud snoring, sometimes so loud that bed partners find it intolerable. Other indications that sleep apnea may be present are obesity, persistent daytime sleepiness, bouts of awakening out of breath during the night, and frequently waking in the morning with a dry mouth or a headache.
Sleep apnea is very common, as common as type 2 diabetes. It affects more than 18 million Americans, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Risk factors include being male, overweight, and over the age of 40, but sleep apnea can strike anyone at any age, even children. Yet still because of the lack of awareness by the public and health care professionals, the vast majority of sleep apnea patients remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated, despite the fact that this serious disorder can have significant consequences.
A definitive diagnosis of sleep apnea can be made only with a sleep study conducted during a visit to a sleep lab. A sleep study generates several records of activity during several hours of sleep, usually about six. Generally, these records include an electroencephalogram, or EEG, measuring brain waves; an electroculogram, or EOG, measuring eye and chin movements that signal the different stages of sleep; an electrocardiogram, EKG, measuring heart rate and rhythm; chest bands that measure respiration; and additional monitors that sense oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood and record leg movement. None of the devices are painful and there are no needles involved. The testing procedure as a whole is known formally as “polysomnography,” and the technician who supervises it is usually a “registered polysomnographic technologist,” or RPT. Usually the bedroom where the test is conducted is more like a comfortable hotel room than a hospital room.
Your doctor might prescribe a “spilt-night study,” in which the first hours are devoted to diagnosis. If obstructive sleep apnea is found, the patient is awakened and fitted with a positive airway pressure device. The remainder of the patient’s slumber is then devoted to determining how well he or she responds to PAP therapy.
To download the Sleep Studies brochure, click here
To learn more about sleep studies and sleep specialist, Sajjan K. Nemani, M.D., click here
(In the spirit of keeping you well and well informed, we want you to know that the hospital works closely with the physicians who provide medical care to you. However, this physician is not an agent or employee of the hospital)