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Pulmonology: Sleep Studies

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What is a sleep study?

For most patients, a sleep study is a key diagnostic component of a sleep disorder evaluation. A sleep study, also called a polysomnogram (PSG), measures your brain wave activity, eye movements, muscle contractions, heart activity, breathing and blood oxygenation during sleep. The information we collect during your study is reviewed and analyzed by our sleep specialists.

What information will I get ahead of time?

Once you have scheduled your sleep study, you will receive a welcome package containing forms you need to complete. Be sure to bring the completed forms and your health insurance card on the night of your study.

Is a sleep study covered by my insurance?

Because of the hundreds of different insurance policies available, we are not able to answer specific insurance coverage questions. We recommend that you check with your insurance company before your test. Please let them know that the test is conducted on an Out-Patient basis and is an ATTENDED study. If you or your insurance company have questions about your procedure, please contact us for further information at 641-754-5056.

What if I have special needs?

Please call our office between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday to discuss your special needs requirements. We will try to accommodate your needs and answer any questions you may have about the sleep study procedure.

What should I bring?

Pack as you would for an overnight hospital stay. For the benefit of your privacy and comfort, please bring appropriate and comfortable nightclothes (such as a night gown, T-shirts and shorts, or pajama top and bottoms). Other patients and staff members will be in the general testing area. Review the recommended checklist below to ensure that you have everything you might need.

Recommended Check List:

  • Comfortable nightclothes (pajamas or t-shirt and shorts)
  • Toiletries and make-up
  • Change of clothes
  • Medications
  • Special pillow or blanket (if desired)
  • Reading material
  • Snack

What about medications?

Please take your medications as usual or bring them to the center, if necessary. Upon arrival at the sleep lab, the technologist will be able to tell you your approximate bedtime so that you may take nighttime medications accordingly. If you have trouble sleeping our staff will offer you a sleeping aid. 

We also recommend that you discuss with your physician whether your medications will affect the sleep study results.

Should I eat my evening meal?

Please eat your evening meal before arrival. You may bring a snack if you wish. An evening meal will not be provided.

Can I have a nap?

It is important that you avoid napping on the day of the study.

Can I have caffeine?

Avoid caffeine (coffee, colas, chocolates, etc.) on the day of the study.

Can I smoke?

Our centers are non-smoking facilities.

Should I take a shower before the study?

Yes. Wash and dry your hair and do not apply any sprays, oils, gels, or make-up.

What if I am running late?

Please contact our lab directly at (641)754-5354 and let us know of your approximate time of arrival or if you will need to reschedule.

During the Sleep Study

What happens when I arrive at the sleep center?

The study usually begins in the late evening per your appointment time of 8:30 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. and ends between 6:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. Once you arrive and are registered in the Emergency Room, a sleep technologist will welcome you and show you to your private bedroom. The technologist will ask you to fill out some forms and answer any questions you may have. As part of your orientation, you will watch a video that will explain the process.

How do I get ready for the study?

After you change into your sleepwear, the sleep technologist will place a number of non-painful sensors (also called electrodes) on your head, chest area and legs. The areas where the sensors will be attached are cleaned and the electrodes are attached with special gels and paste. (The gels and paste are harmless, however, if you have sensitive skin, please alert your sleep technologist prior to attaching the electrodes.) Elastic belts with sensors will be placed around your chest and abdomen. Airflow sensors will be placed under your nose and a finger clip will be applied to monitor your oxygen levels. All of the sensors will be connected to a small portable box that transmits signals to the sleep monitoring and recording equipment that is in a nearby control room.

Will I be able to sleep with so many things attached to me?

You may find it a bit strange at first, but most people do not find it uncomfortable or an obstacle to falling asleep. We will make every effort to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible. If a problem arises, your sleep technologist will make adjustments. The bedroom has an intercom that will enable you to communicate with your technologist at any time.

What if I need to go to the bathroom during the study?

If you need to use the bathroom during the night, you can call your sleep technologist on the intercom for assistance. They will temporarily disconnect you from the sleep monitoring equipment.

After the Sleep Study

When can I leave the sleep center?

You should plan to add an additional 30 minutes to your usual morning preparation time to allow us to remove the electrodes. If you need to be somewhere at a certain time, please let us know when you arrive in the center so we can accommodate your request.

What happens after my sleep study?

A large amount of information is collected during your sleep study. A sleep specialist will analyze this information and a formal report will be sent to your doctor. On the night of the study, the sleep technologists cannot provide you with any information about your testing results.

When will my doctor receive my results?

It usually takes several days for your doctor to receive your formal report. Please schedule a follow-up visit with your physician after that time to discuss the findings and recommendations for treatment. 

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