Snoring and Sleep Apnea – Avoiding Sleep Labs and CPAP
Home sleep testing has never been easier!
Do you snore? Are you tired during the Day?
If so, your relief is here.
By Dr. Jacques Doueck , member American Academy Dental Sleep Medicine
Many people that snore and find they are tired during the day never take the next step because they are avoiding sleeping in a hospital or sleep lab. Home Sleep Testing (HST) is a way for patients to be evaluated for sleep apnea, with the latest in sleep diagnostic technology, in the comfort and convenience of their own bed. There’s no need for dozens of wires and electrodes, body straps, elaborate headgear, video cameras, people watching and recording you while you sleep, or awkward situations with lab technicians walking in on you during the night. There are just a couple of sensors that are used and the cost of an HST is significantly lower, typically just a small fraction of what a more traditional procedure would cost in a sleep lab.
Until now, when patients were suspected of having sleep apnea, their medical doctor would refer them to a sleep specialist for evaluation. If the specialist agreed that they may suffer from breathing problems in sleep, the sleep specialist would order a sleep study in a special facility called a sleep lab. The procedure, which is called a polysomnography (PSG), records multiple signals throughout the night after sensors are applied over most of the body — including the face, legs, chest and arms. In addition to being able to tell if you have sleep apnea, a PSG can tell what percentage of time you are spending in each stage of sleep (which is a measure of how efficiently you are sleeping) and whether you have other, less common sleep disorders such as sleep walking or narcolepsy.
An in-lab PSG costs between $1,200 and $3,000 depending on where you live and the billing practices of the lab. In some cases, insurance may cover the full cost. But today, even those Americans who do have health insurance often have high deductibles and must sharing these costs. This usually means the patient is responsible for 20% ($240-$600) to 100% of the cost when deductibles have not been met for the year. Whether you have insurance that covers a portion of the in-lab sleep study or are paying out of pocket, many patients simply can’t afford this.
Besides the cost for most people it is just plain awkward and uncomfortable. The idea of having someone watch you sleep is unsettling for most patients. Some people simply have problems sleeping anywhere but in their own beds.
Jacques Doueck DDS, member American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine