AASM approves home sleep testing to detect sleep apnea

December 15, 2007

WESTCHESTER, Ill. - New guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) state that a home sleep test can help detect obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in select adults.

A home sleep test involves the use of a portable-monitoring system that you wear as you sleep in your own bed. It consists of a small recording device, sensors, belts and related cables and accessories.

The AASM guidelines stress that only select adults are likely to benefit from a home sleep test. Home sleep tests are only recommended for adults between the ages of 18 and 65 who have a high pretest probability of moderate to severe OSA, and no comorbid medical conditions.

If you have concerns about your sleep, then you should set up an appointment at an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. There you will receive a complete sleep evaluation by a board-certified sleep specialist. He or she will determine if a home sleep test is right for you.

The other option is to do a standard overnight sleep study at a sleep disorders center. This is the best testing method if you have another sleep disorder or major medical problem. It is also the best option for children and older adults.

An overnight sleep study can detect all levels of OSA and many other sleep disorders. The results give your doctor the most-detailed information about your sleep.

OSA is a common sleep disorder that involves repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. It occurs when the muscles relax during sleep. This causes soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the upper airway.

Key risk factors for OSA include loud and frequent snoring, daytime sleepiness and obesity. Most adults who have OSA have not yet been diagnosed.

After a home sleep test, it is important to make a follow-up visit to the AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. If the test results indicate that you have OSA, then the sleep specialist will develop a treatment plan for you.
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You can find an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center near you by going to www.SleepCenters.org.

The AASM guidelines for home sleep testing appear in the December 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. For a copy of this article, or to arrange an interview with an AASM spokesperson, please contact Jim Arcuri, public relations coordinator, at (708)492-0930, ext. 9317, or jarcuri@aasmnet.org.

American Academy of Sleep Medicine

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