Hey everyone, it’s Medicine Mondays again. Today is just going to be a short post about my experience with the “Home Sleep Study”.
Home Sleep Study?
I could be wrong, but I don’t think you can just make an appointment to be evaluated, I’m pretty sure you must be referred by your primary care physician. So, for those who may be interested, talk to your primary care physician first.
As for me, I’ve been having these sleep issues for awhile now, some of which may be related to my work schedule and kids waking me up early. These two things may have been what pushed me over into being tired a lot. At a younger age you can handle not getting enough restful sleep, but as you get older at some point you can’t compensate. I felt I’ve reached that point and so my primary care physician referred me.
However, being who I am, I forgot to make an appointment for about let’s say 6 months or so now. That said, I did finally get around to it and went to sleep center here with the understanding the first step is a Home Sleep Study.
How did it go?
The appointment was pretty easy. You fill out a survey to try to get an understanding of your sleep habits, like your sleep schedule, and feeling of being tired and in what situations. Of course it also talks about snoring or the feeling of waking up and gasping for air. These questions are an attempt to get a better history of your problem. Some sleep issues may be able to be fixed by altering sleep schedules or changing diet or sleep environments. Other things, like true obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) will most likely require external help with a CPAP machine, considered the best non-surgical option for obstructive sleep apnea.
Then the technologist walks you through how to set up and wear the home sleep monitor. In my case it was this one:
There are basically 3 components. One is the velcro belt component which you strap snug around yourself, above your belly button. This part serves to help watch belly movement during sleep. This also houses the on/off system and has 4 lights, one in each quadrant.
You connect the pulse oximeter and place it on your ring finger. It’s what you would expect from any pulse oximeter.
Then you connect the nasal cannula put it on. The nasal cannula is somewhat specialized in that there is a 3rd “prong” which is supposed to rest in your mouth. This feels kind of weird.
When you turn on the system, a green light will come for each component of the system. When you turn off the system, the green lights will go off, and the red light for “test complete” will go on.
Instructions were pretty easy and putting on the device wasn’t too difficult.
How did the night go?
Well, putting the system on again wasn’t too difficult since I had done it before. However, the belt itself is kind of cumbersome to try to sleep in. Additionally, the 3rd prong of the nasal cannula that rests in your mouth feels weird too.
Overall, it made things a little difficult for me to sleep. I normally sleep on my right side, and supposedly you can just slide the pack around on the velcro to get into a position to sleep in. However, it didn’t work too well for me.
I did eventually get to sleep but my wife noted that my sleep that night was even more restless than normal. We’ll see if the tests demonstrate that. Of course, with this thing on, I didn’t use my external nasal dilators (Dortz) either which may also have contributed.
What do you do when you wake up?
Well, you turn off the monitor and the test complete light turns red. Then you return the monitoring system to your sleep center that next morning. I think the reason for the quick turn around is that they want to get the data off the system as quickly as possible. Then they can get the system wiped/cleaned the same day so it can be used by someone else.
By the way, if you don’t return the system, it will cost you ~$1500.
How long do results take?
The paper says usually between 1-2 weeks after the test the results will be sent out to your referring clinician. They advise not calling your primary care physician until after two weeks have passed.
I’m not in a huge hurry, so I’ll just wait for them to contact me. If I don’t hear anything by mid October, I’ll give them a call.
This is a subtle point, but important.
Apparently, your insurance is billed for the sleep study on the day of your appointment. For example, if your appointment was today September 30, 2019, then you need to do the home sleep study that day. If you start the study on September 31, 2019, then the insurance will not pay for it and you will have to pay out of pocket — which is about a thousand dollars.
This includes at 12:01 am on September 31, 2019.
In other words, make sure you turn on your monitor well before midnight. I turned mine on at 11pm even though I didn’t actually sleep until almost midnight. It would be bad to
My experience with a home sleep study.
I’ll let you guys know how things go.
Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.
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