The Most Common Test Used By Doctors To Determine If You’re Suffering From Sleep Apnea

If your doctor suspects you’re suffering from sleep apnea, then you may need to undergo some tests to confirm the diagnosis. Here’s a brief summary of the various tests used to help diagnose sleep apnea.

As an adult, there are a lot of different tests available, and the doctor will choose which test or tests are most relevant to the type of sleep apnea he believes you’re suffering from.

Maintain a sleep diary, including details of how loudly the person snores, if they wake up during sleep, and whether they have breathing difficulties
Use a sound-activated audio recorder during sleep
X-ray or CT scan of the head and neck
Endoscopy of throat and nose to determine if there’s a blockage
Check for any extra tissue growth in the mouth, throat and nose, including tonsils, soft palate and uvula
Gather information about sleep patterns, the person’s daily activities and their medical history
Multiple sleep latency test. This test measures how fast a person falls asleep, and they are given a number of opportunities to fall asleep through the day
Polysomnogram. This monitors the breathing patterns during the night, and is conducted at a sleep center in a hospital. It also records eye movement, brain activity, breathing, heart rate, muscle activity, the amount of airflow in and out of the lungs and what percentage of oxygen is in the blood. Any breathing interruptions during sleep are noted and graded by severity.
Electroencephalogram (EEG). Used to monitor repeated awakenings during sleep, and check the brain waves of the patient during these episodes.
Oximetry. This is done to monitor and record oxygen levels throughout the night, and is simply a sleeve that’s inserted over one finger. The oxygen level drops during apnea episodes and rises when the patient wakes. If the results are abnormal, it’s often followed by a polysomnogram.

Sleep apnea is also diagnosed in children, but some of the tests used are different to those used for adults.

Video photography is used to record occurrences of apnea and nighttime awakening
Lateral neck radiography supplies information about the size of the adenoids
Polysomnography. This can be used in children, but it’s not really design for this purposes. Children have higher respiratory and physiology rates, and so a machine designed for adults may provide false results.
Apnea-hypopnoea index and minimum oxygen saturation levels can be used as indicators, in order to determine the average number of apneas and hypopnoeas that occur during one hour of sleep.
Nasopharyngoscopy. This can determine how much obstruction is occurring in the child’s nasal passages.
Esophageal pressure monitors. This can determine if a child has to make an increased respiratory effort because of upper airway resistance syndrome. A pressure probe is left in the esophagus, where it can measure extreme or frequent negative pressures that disrupt sleep.
Pulse oximetry. This is a screening tool for determining the presence of obstructive sleep apnea disorder, but it’s not highly accurate.

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