A Home Sleep Study: the First Line of Defense in the War Against Sleep Apnea

sleepUnderstanding the severity of your snoring is important. You may be a light snorer, but then again, you could be suffering from debilitating sleep apnea. For years, the preferred means for identifying sleep apnea was an expensive overnight observation session at a sleep lab. That is changing.

Yesterday, Blue Cross Blue Shield announced a change in their policy regarding the diagnosis and medical management of sleep-related breathing disorders. This new policy clarifies their criteria for sleep apnea testing.

Specifically Blue Cross Blue Shield now considers in-center sleep apnea polysomnography to no longer be medically necessary for most adult patients. Instead, Blue Cross Blue Shield considers unsupervised, at-home sleep apnea testing to be preferable.

The ONLY conditions in which a sleep center will be considered medically necessary are:

  • When a prior home study was found to be inadequate
  • When the prior home study failed to establish the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea in a patient with a high pre-test probability of obstructive sleep apnea
  • When a home study is contraindicated due to co-morbid health conditions (such as pulmonary disease, neuromuscular disease, congestive heart failure or hypo-ventilation syndrome). that may decrease the accuracy of the study.

This policy will become effective on May 1 in Illinois, which will take effect in the states of Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas on May 1, 2015.

Although this announcement may seem innocuous to some, it marks a landslide change in the pervasive opinions of the best way to diagnose and treat sleep apnea. Sleep lab sessions are still the gold standard when it comes to diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea, but they are expensive and time-consuming. Ear, Nose, and Throat physicians have long lamented the difficulties in scheduling in-center sleep apnea polysomnography. The lag time greatly reduces the speed in which these physicians can treat their patients.

Now, in home studies will become the first line of defense in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea…and for good reason. In-home sleep studies are quick, simple and cost effective.  Furthermore, they gather important patient data while the patient sleeps in his/her own bed as opposed to the uncomfortable situation of having the patient sleep in a strange bed.

The Snoring Center has conducted thousands of in-home studies. Our patients wear a device around the wrist with monitors on the fingers. To conduct the study they merely push a button and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

As they slumber, the device measures airflow, heart rate and blood saturation storing the data in the device’s memory. The following day, the patient returns the device and our board certified physicians analyze the data. After this review, our physicians consult with the patient on a treatment plan if necessary.

Our treatments are state-of-the-art and minimally invasive. They can be performed in the office and the entire process of consultation and treatment can be completed in less than an hour. Our patients can immediately return to work. The treatments we offer include:

So, if you (or your doctor) think your snoring might be emblematic of sleep apnea, The Snoring Center’s home sleep studies are a proven, cost-effective method to gauge the severity of your condition. Scheduling an appointment is easy and you can complete your sleep study on the same day of your initial appointment. Call us. You can be on the road better sleep for the rest of your life.

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