What is Polysomnography?

Polysomnography is a type of medical test used to diagnose and treat sleep disorders. It involves the recording of electroencephalogram (EEG) activity, breathing, muscle activity, heart rhythm, oxygen levels, and body position. This information is monitored while a patient sleeps in order to identify potential sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, insomnia, or parasomnias.

Why is it Used?

Polysomnography is used to diagnose a variety of sleep disorders, including oceans, narcolepsy, and REM sleep behavior disorder. A polysomnogram also helps physicians differentiate between different types of sleeping disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA), to ensure that the patient receives the correct treatment.

When is it Used?

Polysomnography is often used as a first step in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. It can usually confirm the presence of a sleep disorder and provide the doctor with valuable information about how the patient’s body is functioning while they are asleep. In certain cases, polysomnography can be used to confirm or refute a physician’s diagnosis of a sleep disorder.

Types of Polysomnography

There are two types of polysomnography: attended and unattended. Attended polysomnography is conducted in a lab or hospital sleep center and monitored by a trained sleep technician. Unattended polysomnography is done at home, where the patient is monitored with equipment that gathers the same data as an attended polysomnography.

Preparation for Polysomnography

To prepare for a polysomnography, patients should abstain from alcohol, smoking, caffeine, and other stimulants. They should also avoid taking any prescriptions during the study period. Patients should also arrive about one hour before the scheduled start time to allow time for preparation.

Polysomnography Procedure

Once the patient is prepared and the equipment is in place, the technician fastens a number of sensors to the patient’s body. These sensors measure the patient’s oxygen levels, heart rate, respiratory effort, and brain waves. The sensors are connected to a device that tracks and records the data throughout the duration of the test. In most cases, the patient sleeps at least two to five hours in order for the test to be completed.

Risks of Polysomnography

The risks associated with polysomnography are minimal. There may be some discomfort from the electrodes, but the risks of the procedure typically outweigh the benefits. Patients may also experience anxiety due to the presence of strange people and unfamiliar equipment.