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Common Questions & Answers

If you had a previous diagnostic sleep study, or polysomnogram (PSG) and the results of that confirmed the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, and your physician ordered CPAP treatment, this information will help you understand what you will now need to do to get the treatment you need. If you still have questions, please give us a call.

Why does Sleep Apnea Require Treatment?

Sleep apnea is well known to fragment sleep and cause daytime sleepiness. Untreated sleep apnea puts significant stress on the heart, lungs, and blood pressure. If left untreated for many years, sleep apnea significantly increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is one of the loudest "silent killers" known to medicine. In addition, the symptoms of daytime sleepiness have been associated with an increased number of automobile and work related accidents.

How Does CPAP Work?

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a highly effective therapy that uses air pressure to prop the upper airway open during sleep, thus preventing the upper airway from collapsing, CPAP machines work by pumping room air through a compressor, into a hose that connects to a mask that is worn over or against the nose.

What Does The CPAP Equipment Consist of?

The CPAP apparatus consists of a nasal mask and headgear that holds the mask in place, flexible tubing that moves air from the CPAP machine to the mask, and the CPAP machine itself. Current CPAP models are small, lightweight, and portable, making travel with the machine easy.

Why Do I Have To Come To The Sleep Center In Order To Use CPAP?

CPAP machines can administer a variety of different pressures and we don't know which pressure level will successfully keep your airway open during sleep and prevent apneas from occurring. Only in the sleep center can we try different pressure levels during your sleep to see which one works best. This will ensure you receive the best treatment while using CPAP therapy at home.

How Is The Best CPAP Pressure Determined?

During the CPAP treatment trial, the technician on duty will monitor your breathing and changes in your heart, brain waves, etc. If you show continuing signs of sleep apnea, the pressure will be adjusted until the apnea and the related changes in breathing are significantly reduced. Following your CPAP treatment trial, the data from the sleep study is reviewed to determine the treatment recommendations for you.

Is There Only One type Of Mask?

There are many varieties of CPAP masks and devices. The technician will start you out with the mask that you find most comfortable. This can change during testing and different type of mask can be tried.

Can I Breathe Through My Mouth?

Usually once people receive an adequate amount of air through the nasal mask their mouth automatically closes. If mouth breathing becomes a problem a chinstrap can be applied. A full-face mask (which covers both the nose and mouth) may also be used allowing you to breath in and out of your nose and mouth.

Why Do You Have To Attach All The Same Sensors And Electrodes I Had During My First Sleep Study?

All the electrodes and sensors you had on the first study are attached again. We have to monitor all the same parameters of sleep to determine the effectiveness of the CPAP treatment.

Are The Procedures Any Different During The CPAP Trial Than For The Diagnostic Sleep Study?

Procedures are almost identical except for the placement of the nasal mask, measurement of pressure in the mask, and adjustments to the pressure made during sleep by the technical staff.

How Will I Know if The CPAP Treatment Trial Was Successful?

Most patients know immediately that the CPAP treatment was successful because they awakened feeling more alert and rested than usual. Sometimes it takes several nights of CPAP use at home before patients begin to feel better. While most patients do well with CPAP therapy, a few may experience symptoms such as dryness in the nose or feelings of claustrophobia. These and other problems can be overcome with a few adjustments.

What Time Is The Study Over?

Similar to your first sleep study, the technician will wake you between 5 and 6am depending on your bedtime. If you need to be up earlier, please notify the technician. The technician will remove your leads and sensors and ask you to complete a short questionnaire. As soon as you are unhooked, you are free to leave. Some patients bring in their clothing for the next day and leave directly for work. A shower is available, please bring you own soap and shampoo.

How And When Do I Get The Results?

All sleep studies contain 800 pages or more of data that must be analyzed and interpreted. Analyzing a sleep study is a time consuming process. Each page of the recording is examined for sleep stage, breathing abnormalities, cardiac arrhythmias, movements, arousals, as well as many other variables. Often the technician must review the same page of data several times to identify all significant information. The fully analyzed data is then reviewed by a certified sleep specialist who will provide an interpretation (what the results actually mean). This information is entered into the final sleep study report and prepared for your doctor. This process usually takes approximately 7 working days. Results will be faxed to the physician who ordered the sleep study. You will need to follow up with your physician to obtain the results of your test.

CPAP At Home?

After your CPAP trial, your referring physician will arrange for a medical equipment company, who is contracted with your insurance, to set you up with a home CPAP device. Some people take to the CPAP device right away without any problems. While other people it can take a couple of weeks. If you are experiencing any difficulties you should contact the medical equipment provider for assistance.

How Is The CPAP Machine Paid For?

This is a question to ask your medical equipment company. Many companies will rent the machine for a month or two with an option to buy, unless you or your insurance company requires a different arrangement. Reimbursement for the CPAP machine and supplies varies by insurance company and specific plan. Therefore, we suggest that you contact your insurance company and inquire about your Durable Medical Equipment (DME) benefits.

What If I Have A Problem With My CPAP Machine At Home?

Contact the medical equipment company who provided you with the CPAP device. Usually the problem is a very simple adjustment. If your medical equipment provider cannot help you they will refer you back to your physician.

Can I Travel With This Machine?

A travel case for the device and accessories comes with the machine. A battery power option is available for those who camp. Most CPAP machines available today come equipped with transformers, which allow them to be used with international (220v) voltages when you travel to foreign countries.

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