My doctor has referred me for a sleep study. Do I need to see a sleep specialist?
Sleep specialists have specific training in diagnosing and managing sleep conditions and interpreting sleep studies. While sleep studies can assist in diagnosing some sleep conditions, in most cases a review by a sleep physician is recommended with management decisions often guided by interpretation of the sleep study in the context of the symptoms and examination findings.
Is there a difference between a home vs hospital sleep study?
Hospital sleep studies are attended studies where there is real time monitoring of sleep. Therefore any signal abnormality can be corrected immediately, extra monitoring equipment can be added or treatment implemented during the sleep study.
Home sleep studies are unattended studies. These studies are indicated to evaluate for obstructive sleep apnoea. In patients who are assessed as highly likely to have obstructive sleep apnoea based on questionnaires, patients may be eligible for direct general practitioner referral for a home sleep study with oversight by a sleep specialist.
Are all home sleep studies the same?
Home sleep study providers are NOT all equal and poor quality studies can result in inaccurate results, suboptimal management decisions and poor outcomes. I would recommend avoiding sleep services who provide both the diagnostic study and sell the equipment for treating the condition. Quality control practices are highly variable. Cost saving measures may be at the expense of quality leading to misdiagnosis and more expense down the track.
Have you been diagnosed with Sleep Apnoea and recommended CPAP? Don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion.
Being diagnosed with Sleep Apnoea may have significant consequences when it comes to your health, fitness to drive, personal insurance policies and expense. However not all sleep apnoea is the same and in many cases the sleep apnoea a patient may be diagnosed with may neither cause symptoms or cause health risk and may not require treatment at all. If you have any doubts when it comes to the diagnosis or if you have any reservations regarding treatment seek a second opinion with a Sleep Physician.
I have been diagnosed with Sleep Apnoea, do I need to use CPAP?
Sleep Apnoea is a common diagnosis but its clinical relevance is variable. There are many instances where sleep apnoea DOES NOT require treatment as the degree of sleep apnoea may not convey long term health risk, the patient may not have any symptoms to warrant treatment or the symptoms experienced are unrelated to the sleep apnoea and due to another sleep condition. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnoea and recommended treatment I would advise to rent a CPAP pump and mask for 2 months. If CPAP is more a burden than a benefit see your sleep physician before purchasing the equipment.
My partner snores could they have sleep apnoea?
Snoring is common in the community and most people who snore do not have sleep apnoea, however it can be difficult to differentiate simple snoring from significant sleep apnoea and often a sleep physician assessment and sleep study is required to adequately confirm or exclude sleep apnoea.