Here at Heart and Health, we do sleep apnea screenings that you can take home with you and perform comfortably in your own bed in order to determine the severity of your sleep apnea, if it’s present. If you or the cardiologist suspects sleep apnea, you’ll be sent home with a 3-piece Airview device.
The monitor piece is placed on your chest with a strap to secure it during sleep, and it records breathing. The second piece is a pulse oximeter placed on a finger, and monitors heart rate and oxygen levels. And the final piece is a cannula, which goes into your nostrils and monitors breathing. The results will then be read by a cardiologist here at Heart and Health, then discussed with you to figure out treatment plans.
If tests show 1-15 episodes per hour, the patient can be diagnosed with mild sleep apnea. 15-30 would be moderate, and 30+ is severe. The test can show instances of both apnea and hypopnea. Apnea is a complete obstruction of the airway, while a hypopnea is less severe. It is a partial obstruction, which a CPAP device can easily fix with a little bit of air pressure added to the airway.
Below is an example of a severe case of sleep apnea and how it is scored in an eight hour test.
Alternatively, a sleep study (polysomnogram) could be performed in a lab, where you would be hooked up to a machine used to monitor heart rate, oxygen levels, and brain waves as you sleep. It can determine how many interruptions in your sleep cycle occur due to lack of oxygen. This can help diagnose the disorder, rule out other possibilities, or help identify related ailments.
Though most insurances cover the cost of a sleep test, the cost pales in comparison to the medical cost of the heart disease, stroke, or other complications that would result if the sleep apnea remained untreated.
Unsure of you have sleep apnea? Click here for the STOP-BANG test to see your likelihood of having/being at risk for sleep apnea.
By: Jennifer LaBombard