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AGH offering ‘at home’ sleep studies

(Dec. 31, 2015) The Sleep Disorders Diagnostic Center at Atlantic General Hospital now offers sleep studies that can be conducted in the comfort of a patient’s home.
During a traditional sleep study, an overnight stay in a hospital or sleep center is required. Upon arrival, a sleep technician attaches sensors to the torso and head that monitor brain waves, heartbeat and breathing.  
The results captured over the next eight hours of sleep help physicians determine if a patient has sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and a variety of other sleep disorders.
The testing can be very revealing, but isn’t always the most convenient or comfortable experience for patients trying to sleep normally in an unfamiliar environment.  
With a home sleep study, patients are in their own surroundings and can follow their usual routines, which will result in falling asleep faster and yield truer results. Unusual sleep hours can be accommodated as well.
For those who work night shift or have a lifestyle that results in an unusual bedtime, it can be difficult to fall asleep for a typical 11 p.m. sleep study.
The tech can even pre-program the machine to turn on and off at a certain time if the patient has an usual bedtime.
Convenience is just one of the benefits of a home sleep study. If a patient has an unusually restless night that may yield inconclusive results, there is an opportunity to monitor a second night’s sleep. The goal is the make the experience as simple and easy as possible for the patient.
“We provide education before testing to make sure our patients know how to set up the equipment. A sleep tech actually sits down with the patients when they come in to pick it up,” said Maria Phillips, director of Imaging. Other providers of home sleep studies send the equipment through the mail with a set of instructions.
There are four basic components to the setup, which takes about 10 minutes at home: a belt around the waist, a belt around the chest, a pulse and oxygen reader that clips to the finger, and a sensor that is placed beneath the nose.
The studies are covered by most insurance companies and Medicare. Diagnosis is the same as a traditional sleep study. The results are read by a pulmonologists certified in sleep medicine and shared with a patient’s doctor.
For more information, visit www.atlanticgeneral. org/Our-Services/Sleep-Disorders-Diagnostic-Center.aspx.