Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects 17% of women and 34 % of men in the US. The condition is diagnosed with a sleep study which is performed either in the home or at a sleep lab. The home studies are more convenient and less costly and insurance companies often will require this type of study over a sleep lab evaluation.
The data suggests that the home study is sensitive and accurate if patients have severe OSA. Severity is based on the number of times a patient will stop breathing or almost stop breathing in one hour and to be severe a patient must stop breathing at least 30 times per hour. The home study is not as sensitive or accurate if the patient has mild or moderate OSA.
Sleep lab analysis is recommended if patients have significant cardiorespiratory disease, neuromuscular disease, elevations of their carbon dioxide levels, are on long-term opioid medication, have severe insomnia, a history of stroke or is a child under the age of 18.
Insurance companies are not always aware of the above mentioned conditions making the insurance approval process more difficult. Physicians that do not deal with sleep apnea regularly or in depth may not be aware of the appropriate study to order.
The Sleep Disorder Network at the Lung Disease Center has two board certified sleep specialists who can guide your diagnostic process. Patients and physicians may call the Center at 814-946-2845 for consultations and evaluations both home and sleep lab testing is available