Patients suspected of having obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) will have to have a sleep study performed to properly diagnose the disorder. There are two possible tests for determining a diagnosis: an attended polysomnogram (PSG) and an unattended home sleep test (HST).
Attended PSG tests are conducted in a sleep lab under the supervision of a registered polysomnographic sleep technologist (RPSGT). In addition to sleep apnea, PSGs can diagnose up to 80 sleep disorders by using a variety of equipment that monitors brain activity, eye movements, respiratory effort, blood oxygen saturation, heart rate, body movements, and more.
HSTs on the other hand are used only in the diagnosis of sleep apnea, and are performed by the patients themselves. Patients taking a HST will bring home their equipment to use overnight after being given a tutorial on how to use the equipment. HSTs are very simple and easy to use. HSTs are also limited in the data they capture to respiratory effort, blood oxygen saturation, and airflow. Some HSTs can also capture breathing movement and body positions.
HSTs are increasingly being used in the determination of obstructive sleep apnea. However, there are some important considerations to make when choosing between having an in-lab sleep study and an at home sleep test. Here we explain those considerations.