Unproven Home Tests Are No Substitute for a Sleep Study

Given the proliferation of mobile devices and apps on the marketplace, it was only a matter of time before products were rolled out offering the ability to identify sleep apnea in the comfort of one’s own home. However, the experts at Sleep Apnea Surgicure want people to realize that not all of the many at-home sleep apnea devices are as both specific and sensitive for the accurate diagnosis of clinically significant obstructive sleep apnea as an in-lab, physician supervised sleep study, and as such, on occasion, these at-home devices may actually prove detrimental to health.

Every company out there seems to be looking for the next big thing in electronics. That might mean consuming entertainment in a brand new way, wearing an article of clothing that turns a simple watch into a Smartphone accessory, or keeping track of any number of internal metrics via the use of technology.

One industry that has sprung up in conjunction with the increased import society has given sleep in recent years is that of the home sleep test. Many such products are being touted as a substitute for the type of intensive lab work that requires an individual to stay in a sleep clinic overnight. The Washington Post explored this trend in a December 9, 2013 article entitled “Sleep problems can be assessed via at-home tests.”

Unfortunately, these home tests, when not used at the behest of a sleep specialist, are simply not effective enough at this point in time to be relied upon with any degree of accuracy. As the industry goes through a state of transition, the physicians of Sleep Apnea Surgicure are worried that the usage of these tests may actually undermine a person’s sleep in unforeseen ways. Dr. Stephen D. Ochs explains his stance:

“I can certainly see the appeal of a home test for Obstructive Sleep Apnea,” said Dr. Ochs. “We even give some patients the opportunity to use a product we’ve had success with, the Itamar Watch-PAT200, which has been validated as to its accuracy by many evidence based academic and clinical studies.”

“Unfortunately, there are many devices out there that haven’t had their credentials thoroughly vetted with people using these without guided instruction from a qualified medical source. If a false negative results, you suddenly have someone with sleep apnea who remains unaware that they’re letting a serious medical condition go uncorrected. This is problematic.”

With that in mind, Sleep Apnea Surgicure wants all persons considering a home test to realize some of the pitfalls and dangers associated with unproven devices.

•To Err Is Human, To Sleep Divine - The big problem with many home tests is that responsibility for proper usage is taken out of the hands of a professional. If instructions aren’t followed to the tee, metrics may not be recorded correctly, undermining the entire ordeal.

•The False Negative Threat - As noted by Dr. Ochs, things can turn dire if a device, whether by human error or some other type of problem, fails to identify OSA. Rather than seeking treatment via Get2REM surgery (follow this link for more information) or some other type of beneficial procedure, people are left to cope with the continued effects of sleep apnea. They continually struggle to draw breath while they sleep and their health deteriorates as a result, all because the home device was wrong. Persons can never truly be sure they’re free of OSA unless they come in for a consultation with a sleep specialist.

•The False Positive Threat - While not nearly as severe as the False Negative threat, a false positive can result in an individual being treated for sleep apnea when they don’t actually suffer from it. Someone may end up wearing a bulky, uncomfortable CPAP sleep mask to bed, never knowing that that treatment was unnecessary.

•Other Issues Go Undiagnosed - Even if the device correctly deduces that a user does not suffer from sleep apnea, it may not possess the ability to identify other sleep disorders. Insomnia, Restless Legs Syndrome, and other disorders severely hinder health but go undiscovered, yet again limiting a person’s ability to get appropriate treatment.

“I believe that major advances in the very near future in smartphone App technology will indeed play an important role in advancing public awareness, diagnosis and appropriate treatment for OSA,” said Dr. Ochs. “For now, caution is best advised in the use of unsupervised at-home sleep apnea testing because of the associated risks of the individual not receiving proper medical review including a clinical evaluation, guidance and appropriate treatment options. Having sleep apnea identified and corrected with the help of a specialist must be a priority for all afflicted individuals.”

Sleep Apnea Surgicure is a physician-owned healthcare enterprise headquartered in Denver whose mission is to increase awareness among the general public about both the health risks of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and the potential surgical cure that the Get2REM MMA procedure can offer. Dr. Ochs and Dr. Robinson are well-versed in the intricacies of sleep disorders and the various ways in which patients might seek effective treatment. Persons tired of suffering through sleep apnea are encouraged to visit Surgicure now to learn more about the treatment options available to them.