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Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

girl falling tired at computerDavid Crumpton, DDS uses sleep apnea tests (also called polysomnograms or sleep studies) to determine if patients have this particular condition. These tests have multiple components, in which we electronically examine certain physical activities during sleep. Then we analyze the results to find out what kind of sleep disorder the patient has if any.

What happens during a Sleep Apnea Test?

Sleep studies usually record your activity for around six hours of sleep. The records generate will likely include the following:
•  An electroencephalogram (EEG), which measures brain waves
•  An electroculogram (EOG) that will measure eye and chin movements which signal different phases of sleep
•  An electrocardiogram (EKG) measuring your heart rate and rhythm
•  Chest bands monitoring your breathing
•  Other monitors will track the levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen in your blood and record your leg movement

If we conclude you have sleep apnea, we can prescribe a treatment right away, but sometimes we need to conduct additional tests to figure out the best treatment option for you. We may end up referring you to an ear, nose and throat doctor will check for blockage in the throat or nose. It’s also possible for us to send you to a cardiologist or neurologist if we need to discern the causes of central sleep apnea if you have it.

Are Sleep Apnea Tests Painful?

No. None of the devices mentioned above are painful, and we don’t use needles. During the night of the polysomnogram, we will assign you to a private bedroom at our center. The bedroom where we do the test resembles a comfortable hotel room more than a hospital room. The equipment we hook you up to may appear uncomfortable, but most patients have little trouble falling asleep.

At times we prescribe a procedure known as a split-night study, where we spend the first set of hours doing diagnosis. If we detect obstructive sleep apnea, we will wake you up and fit you with a positive airway pressure device. Then we’ll have you go back to sleep and monitor how well you respond to PAP therapy.

Do I need to spend the Night at a Medical Office to complete the Sleep Apnea Test?

Not necessarily. Polysomnography works best in a well-supplied sleep laboratory specially designed for diagnosing sleep apnea, such as at our office. However, Dr. Crumpton may determine that, based on the patient’s symptoms and current situation, a home study can provide an accurate diagnosis.

We have portable equipment available for use in the home, which measures blood oxygen levels, heart rate, airflow, and breathing. Tests are done at home if the patient has a less complicated condition or if they cannot follow the procedures we observe in the lab. The majority of home studies are self-administered and considerably cheaper. As a result, they are becoming more and more common.

However, these portable monitoring devices cannot pick up every single case of sleep apnea. Because of that, we may need you to come in for a sleep apnea test in our office even if the results of your test are normal.

For more information, please contact our office at 817-678-7395


301 Trophy Branch Dr., Suite 100, Trophy Club, TX 76262

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David Crumpton, DDS, serves families in Trophy Club, Roanoke, Keller, Southlake, Colleyville, Fort Worth, and across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

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