Home Sleep Testing is a novel, new way to diagnose Sleep Apnea. It is best used as a screening study for breathing related sleep disorders. We have also found it to be useful in documenting the effectiveness of therapy in those already being treated for Sleep Apnea. Home Sleep Testing is performed in the patient’s home and monitors basic parameters of breathing needed to diagnose Sleep Apnea. If positive, it should be followed by a formal study done in the sleep center, as it does have some limitations. In some cases however, we can proceed right to treatment in the lab. Home Sleep Testing decreases the time patients have to spend away from home and can decrease the number of sleep studies from two to one. It must be interpreted by a board certified sleep specialist and should be scored by a registered sleep technologist.
It is well known that those with untreated Sleep Apnea are more likely to have a traffic accident. In fact, the likelihood is two to six times that of the normal population. When compared to patients without the disorder, people with Sleep Apnea had more off road accidents, slower brake reaction time, and a marked increase in out-of-lane drifting. Their performances were poorer than that of a person with a blood alcohol level of .08g/dl, a level that would results in a DUI in most states.
Unfortunately most states do not have a mandatory law forbidding people with sleep apnea from driving if they refuse treatment. That is why it is so important that if you or a loved one suspects that you have sleep apnea you seek treatment. The treatments such as CPAP, oral appliances, and in some cases, surgery, are all effective. After treatment, most people’s driving performance returns to normal within one to two weeks. So, it is not just for yourself, but for the safety of others that should motivate you to get diagnosed and treated.