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Sleep Apnea – Diagnosis

October 30, 2020


Obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed a couple of different ways. Sometimes it’s diagnosed by a bed partner who’s observed snoring and stopping breathing at night, but that’s not the official diagnosis. It can be officially diagnosed two other ways. And the first is that we do a home sleep apnea study, which is generally a small device worn in your own bed in your own home for roughly one night. And that allows us to see breathing oxygen values, heart rate, and also any respiratory effort issues. If somebody needs to breathe really hard and struggles to get that breath, they may have sleep apnea. A more formal way to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea is in a sleep lab. Sometimes they’re independent. Sometimes they’re associated with hospitals, but during an in-lab polysomnogram we often find sleep apnea. We look at the brain waves within the EEG and the heart rate and rhythm with an EKG. Also look at muscle activity like grinding and kicking of the legs, but obstructive sleep apnea is actually the best information we get from a polysomnogram or formal sleep study, where we look at belts across the chest and abdomen and catheters and the nose that allow us to get back flow of air and also oxygen delivered to the body through the pulse oximetry overnight.

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