Dr. Brazinsky explains what tests are performed in a sleep lab.
There are two types of testing we do predominantly at sleep lab. One is an overnight polysomnography diagnostic test. That’s when the patient comes in and they spend an entire night in the sleep lab, we apply 16 different sensors on them. The test shows what we showed earlier, all the different functions of the body, and we watch them overnight.
The other test that can be ordered is called the split night sleep study and what’s nice about that is after two hours or so of the study, if the patient clearly has blatant sleep apnea, we will stop the test, put CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) on them and give them what’s called the CPAP titration. That allows the diagnosis and the treatment to all be done in one evening.
The trick is they have to have severe sleep apnea during those first two hours because if the sleep apnea is mild and they don’t meet severity criterias, later on Medicare and their insurance companies may not pay for their CPAP machine. So when in doubt we study them all night, we bring them back a second night and do the CPAP titration.
The titration is a very simple test, put the mask on the patient, have them go to sleep and as they get into deeper stages of sleep we monitor them and we slowly turn up the CPAP pressure until we make not only all the events go away so they’re having no apneas, but their oxygen saturations are maintained and they’re not snoring, and when you’ve accomplished that you know you’ve had a successful titration.
About Dr. Shari Brazinsky, M.D.:
Dr. Shari Anne Brazinsky is a pulmonary critical care physician at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego, California as a member of the Pulmonary Medicine and Infectious Disease Medical Group. She was named one of San Diego’s 2008 top pulmonary disease doctors for the third time by San Diego Magazine.