Getting a Diagnosis

Getting a Diagnosis for Sleep Apnoea

GP referral
If you’re worried that you may have Sleep Apnoea or are experiencing some of the symptoms, you should book an appointment with your GP. Before your appointment it may be helpful to your GP if you take our sleep apnoea screening test and share the results with them. Your GP will most likely ask you questions about your symptoms and do some further tests

Sleep study
If your GP suspects that you have Sleep Apnoea, they may refer you to a specialist sleep clinic. Your appointment may include a sleep study which will either be taken overnight at the clinic or at home with specialist sleep monitoring equipment.

Private treatment
You may prefer to opt for private treatment and your GP should be able to recommend a private clinic for you. ResMed also has private clinics in London and Oxfordshire where you could choose to start your treatment pathway.

Find out more

Depending on the country you live in, sleep studies may be performed at home or in a sleep lab. Studies performed in the sleep lab are normally called a polysomnography study, or PSG whereas studies performed in the home may be conducted through a polygraphy study, or PG, or even by using a sleep screening device. Regardless which of these studies is applicable in your country, they are used to demonstrate whether or not you have sleep apnoea and, if so, how severe it is. The main “score” you get from a sleep study is called an apnoea-hypopnea index, or AHI. Your AHI score indicates the number of apnoeas and hypopneas you experience per hour during the sleep study1.

In addition to your AHI, the sleep study will also record the oxygen levels in your blood, which might be contributing to excessive daytime sleepiness.

Testing at home
A home sleep study is normally conducted with a sleep screening device, and provides the added comfort and convenience of being in your own home. Ahead of your home sleep study, the sleep clinic will show you how to use the device during the night.

On the night that you have been scheduled to conduct the home test, you’ll follow your normal evening routine, prepare for sleep, attach everything as you’ve been shown, and start the recording. In the morning, you remove everything as previously demonstrated and return the recording device to the sleep clinic.

A typical home sleep screening study can be performed using ResMed’s ApneaLinkTM Air, a compact, lightweight and easy-to-use home sleep testing device.

In-clinic sleep test
In a sleep clinic or hospital, specialist staff will place sensors on your body to monitor your sleep.

Sensors are placed:

  • On your chest to monitor heart activity
  • Close to your eyelids to measure which stage of sleep you’re in (that is, REM or non-REM sleep)
  • On your head to measure electrical signals from the brain
  • On your legs to assess muscle activity

You will also be fitted with:

  • A nasal cannula to monitor breathing
  • An oximeter on your finger to record oxygen levels
  • Bands around your chest and stomach to measure breathing effort

During this type of study, you will be required to stay overnight at the clinic, so it’s a good idea to get comfortable and take everything you need for your usual sleeping routine, including pyjamas and toiletries.

What will the sleep study show?
Typically, the sleep clinic will be looking to assess whether you have Sleep Apnoea and with what level of severity as this will help define your treatment options. The main “score” you get from a sleep study is called an apnoea-hypopnea index, or AHI.

After your sleep study
Once your doctor receives the results of your sleep study, he/she will discuss them with you. You can then discuss your condition, its severity and its possible effects on your health, as well as explore your treatment options.

1 http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/sleep-apnea/diagnosing-osa/understanding-results

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