SLEEP STUDIES REQUIRE A REFERRAL FROM YOUR GP OR SPECIALIST. If you don’t have a referral then a Screening Test might be appropriate for you.
The Sleep and Lifestyle Clinic works with Specialist Services Medical Group (Specialist Services) a home-based sleep diagnostic company. Specialist Services will assess the appropriateness of a home sleep study, undertake the data analysis and the Sleep Physician will write the report and necessary consultation. Our sleep study services allow the referring practitioner to order a sleep study that is comprehensive and performed in a timely manner. Unlike the traditional sleep laboratories, home testing means patients are tested in the comfort and familiar surroundings of their own home to suit their schedule and lifestyle.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG): monitors brain waves
- Electrooculogram(EOG): monitors eye movements
- Electrocardiogram (ECG): monitors heart rhythm
- Respiratory and Abdominal Effort
- Pulse Oximeter: monitors oxygen levels
- Limb Movement: movements of the legs
- Nasal Airflow & Snoring
- Position Sensor.
- Regular snoring
- Unrefreshing sleep
- Daytime tiredness or fatigue
- Poor concentration and memory
- Frequent urination at night
- Gasping or choking at night
- Depression and anxiety
- Headaches at night or upon awakening
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
- Complications during anaesthetics
- Home based, for a better sleep
- Rapid assessments
- Accredited sleep physicians reported studies
- Timely, efficient reporting
- Independent and unbiased reports
- Easy to organise bookings over the phone
- Medicare subsidised service
Reasons for a referral vary but may be related to certain symptoms (e.g. tiredness or poor sleep), your physical characteristics or health issues (e.g. high blood pressure, tiredness, urination at night etc.). Home sleep studies are frequently undertaken to determine if abnormalities of breathing are present during sleep.
The sleep study needs to measure multiple physiological variables simultaneously. We record these variables as:
- It allows a more accurate determination of any abnormalities such as breathing irregularities. These breathing irregularities if substantial may constitute a diagnosis of sleep apnea. The irregularities can result in unrecognized sleep disturbance, drops in oxygen levels and changes in blood pressure.
- Additionally, the test insures that breathing abnormalities are not overestimated (less complex tests can overestimate abnormalities). It is important that we detect accurately the substantial abnormalities as they can be linked to health issues in the future (e.g. risk of developing high blood pressure, stroke etc.)
- The sensors will show if there are small variations in breathing which may be important. For example, they may cause brief awakenings which can result in tiredness or symptoms of sleep deprivation during the day, such as poor concentration. These small variations in breathing may potentially cause more serious conditions such as stretching of the heart, which acts as a trigger for atrial fibrillation for example.
If you don’t think you require a comprehensive sleep study we also run take-home sleep apnea screening tests.
After you have received your referral from your GP or specialist to undertake a sleep study you can contact the clinic directly and choose a convenient day and time for you to attend the clinic for your initial assessment and education on how to apply the equipment that night.
Alternatively, if you have performed a sleep study at another sleep clinic we are still happy to discuss your results or possible treatments with you. If you don’t already have a copy of your sleep study results to bring along to your consultation, let us know which clinic you attended so that we may request them on your behalf.
If you are unsure as to what type of study you require please see our FAQ’s.
Do I need a Sleep Study or a Sleep Apnea Screening Test?
Q. Do I need a Sleep Study or a Sleep Apnea Screening Test?
There are a number of differences between these tests. Screening Tests does not require a referral, less equipment has to be worn, results are available sooner and the price is significantly less. Although there are advantages, the screening test may not give a defintive diagnosis and may not be accepted by your health fund to justify treatment.
Take-Home Sleep Apnea Screening Tests provide a portable, lightweight and easy to use home assessment to screen for obstructive sleep apnea. Using ResMed’s ApneaLink™, we are able to record up to five channels of information: respiratory effort, pulse, oxygen saturation, nasal flow and snoring. These studies are reported on by experienced physiotherapists and results will be available rapidly (within a week of performing the overnight test). While research show a high correlation between sleep apnea screening tests and full sleep studies, the results may not be definitive and further assessment and/or testing may be recommended alternatively in some cases immediate treatment might be appropriate. Your preference in regards to ongoing assessment and management will be important to us.
Take-Home Sleep Apnea Screening Tests will be perform on a self-referral basis but will not justify a rebate or provision of continuous airway pressure (CPAP)/mandibular advancement splint (MAS) treatments for:
- DVA card holders
- ACT and NSW Pension (who plan to have CPAP provision covered by the Government)
- Private Health Insurance Holders (with appropriate coverage for CPAP provision)
Portable Home-based Sleep Studies provide a more in-depth test which can measure sleep quality, obstructive and central sleep apnea, snoring, periodic leg movements and insomnia. These studies are provided by the Sleep Physicians at Specialist Services Medical Group. A comprehensive report will be provided along with treatment recommendations (consultations with a physician are also available and recommended when sleep apnea is not the primary concern).
A referral from a GP or specialist is required for a portable home-based sleep study and will provide a comprehensive study and measure multiple physiological variables simultaneously. A specialist Sleep Physician reports each test and makes appropriate recommendations as to treatment. Referral Forms are available [here]. These studies are suitable for a large number of patients requiring sleep investigation for a presumed disorder. Ask your doctor or contact us if you have any queries concerning the suitability of a home study in your case.
My child is Under 18 years old; can they perform a sleep study at the Sleep and Lifestyle Clinic?
Q. My child is Under 18 years old; can they perform a sleep study at the Sleep and Lifestyle Clinic?
At the Sleep and Lifestyle Clinic we conduct home-based portable sleep studies and these studies are not yet available for the use of children or those under 18 years old. Please email the clinic if you would like a list of paediatric sleep physicians who can perform in-lab sleep studies for your child.
What do we mean by a home based approach to sleep apnea treatment?
Q. What do we mean by a home based approach to sleep apnea treatment?
The treatment of snoring and sleep apnea is a vital component in promoting health in a sufferer. We see healthy sleep as just one part of our client’s general health and well being. Poor sleep often leads to daytime consequences such as sleepiness, fatigue and reduced productivity. Equally a larger number of snorers are unaware that they may have compromised breathing during sleep which could be resulting in damage to their cardiovascular system. Damage which may lead to the development of high blood pressure, heart disease and premature death.
The Sleep and Lifestyle Clinic believes home diagnosis and treatment offers clients the best chance of a positive outcome. Clients take monitoring equipment home and treatment devices are used in one’s own home. Monitoring on the screen of the devices and via the Internet allows us to evaluate therapy and make the appropriate changes. This approach allows clients to accommodate to therapies at their own pace without the expense and discomfort of overnight stays in a sleep lab.
Our approach is to work with Sleep Physicians to perform high quality sleep studies in the home. Our clients report a better sleep when the test is undertaken at home versus in hospital or a sleep laboratory where the environment is foreign. You return to discuss the findings of the study and treatment is based on medical evidence along with your preferences. We objectively monitor the improvements our treatment produce. We address your sleep health not only with PAP devices (e.g. CPAP and APAP) but also by facilitating the lifestyle changes you need to improve your general health. Importantly, our approach is individualised to suit your needs and preferences. Therapies are realistic and based on scientific principles.
Why do we work with physiotherapists?
Q. Why do we work with physiotherapists?
One discipline within Physiotherapy practice is cardio-respiratory care. Physiotherapists have worked in the area of sleep medicine for over thirty years. Indeed they have been pivotal in advancing the treatment of sleep disordered breathing and these advances have most often been in the practical applications of treatment.
Physiotherapists are generally good communicators who keep their patients informed and educated about their condition and available therapies. Our hands-on approach to treatment allows us to be a trusted mentor to you when commencing or struggling with mask breathing support.
More traditionally acknowledged are their skills in exercise and physical activity prescription. This allows physiotherapists to undertake integrated treatments which more comprehensively address the well being of clients with sleep disordered breathing.
Along with their skills in communication and hands-on patient care, physiotherapists bring their knowledge of anatomy and training in the scientific principles of medical treatments together to achieve excellent results for clients.
What benefits can you expect from our programme?
Q. What benefits can you expect from our programme?
Our sleep health programme is designed to give you the advice and training you need to maximise the benefits of PAP therapy. These benefits may include, a reduction in sleepiness and fatigue, better quality sleep so you awaken feeling refreshed, improved concentration and mood, and a reduction in the physical manifestations of sleep apnea such as snoring and reductions in blood pressure. We not only address the very important issues of mask fit and machine function, but we also help you understand what other factors impact on sleep health which may be contributing to your symptoms.
What is sleep disordered breathing?
Q. What is sleep disordered breathing?
Sleep disordered breathing describes any abnormal pattern of respiration which occurs when a person is asleep.
Sleep disordered breathing can be seen as a continuum. At one end is simple snoring where vibration within the airway is produced secondary to a loss of muscle activity in the airway during sleep, and at the other end are severe breathing abnormalities where breathing becomes shallow during sleep (nocturnal hypoventilation). This abnormality can lead to respiratory failure and serious health effects. In between these two extremes are those clients who have varying degrees of obstructive and central sleep apnea.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
Q. What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
OSA is associated with a partial or complete closure (Apnea) or reduction (hypopnea) of the upper part of the airway during sleep (often in the area around the back of the tongue). This results in an absence of air flowing into the lungs. During an apnea/hypopnea the subject does not breath normally as the airway is constricted. The subject makes continued efforts to breathe, and it is this struggling that eventually causes them to momentarily wake. This short waking period is known as an arousal. This continual waking, often totally unrecognized by the sufferer, in response to OSA is the reason patients may report sleepiness and fatigue.
Sleep apnea varies markedly in its severity and effects. Apneas may last from 10 seconds to in some cases over a minute. These breathing events that occur in sleep are associated with a drop in the blood oxygen level, increases in blood pressure, fluctuations in the heart rate and rhythm and a release of stress hormones. OSA is also associated with a number of adverse heath effects including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and has been linked to diabetes.
The bottom line is that OSA can have serious medical consequences and it should be investigated and managed whenever it is suspected.