September 30, 2023

Have you recently undergone a polysomnography sleep study and received your results? If you’re like many people, you may have found the report difficult to understand. Polysomnography is an essential tool for diagnosing sleep disorders, but interpreting the results can be challenging. Understanding your results is vital for creating an effective treatment plan with your healthcare provider. In this post, we’ll go through everything you need to know about interpreting your Respiratory function testing.

Polysomnography, also known as a sleep study, is a non-invasive diagnostic test used to monitor brain activity, eye movements, muscle tone, heart rhythm, and breathing patterns while you sleep. The test is conducted either in a specialized sleep laboratory or in some cases, at home. Once the test is complete, your doctor will receive a report that shows your sleep patterns, and you’ll be given a copy. The report will provide a range of scores and measurements. One of the key components of the report will assess your sleep stages, including the amount of deep sleep, light sleep, and REM sleep you had.

The report will also include an Apnea/Hypopnea Index (AHI) score. This score determines the total number of apneas (complete blockage of the airway) and hypopneas (partial blockage) you experience during the night. The score shows how frequently you stopped breathing or had difficulty breathing while sleeping. AHI scores are categorized according to the severity of your breathing problem. An AHI score of less than 5 indicates normal breathing, while scores between 5 and 15 represent mild sleep apnea. Scores between 15 and 30 are moderate sleep apnea, and scores above 30 are severe sleep apnea.

The report will also indicate your oxygen saturation levels throughout the night. This is the amount of oxygen that is in your blood when you are asleep. Your doctor will review this information to see if there are any significant oxygen desaturations that could indicate underlying health issues. For instance, in patients with obstructive sleep apnea, oxygen levels may drop during periods of apnea, and this becomes more severe as the disorder progresses.

Your report will also contain a “sleep efficiency” score. This tells you how efficient your sleep is. A sleep efficiency score of over 85% is considered good, while scores below this are regarded as poor quality sleep. A low sleep efficiency score could mean that you struggle with insomnia, sleep apnea, or other sleep disorders that cause you to wake frequently at night.

Lastly, the report will provide information on periodic leg movements or other movement-related disorders. This can include restless leg syndrome or other conditions that cause you to move or twitch involuntarily while asleep. These can impact your sleep quality and duration and can be responsible for daytime fatigue, depending on their severity.

Interpreting the results of the polysomnography sleep study is an essential part of diagnosing a sleep disorder. Understanding the results is vital for creating an effective treatment plan. While some of the medical terms used in the report may be challenging to understand, discussing the results with your doctor will help you understand them fully. With this post, we hope that you now have a better understanding of what to expect in your results and what they may mean. Don’t hesitate to ask your healthcare provider what your test results are and what they mean for your sleep health.