Diagnosing sleep apnea requires a sleep study performed at a licensed facility. A patient will be admitted for an overnight stay. Trained sleep specialists will attach leads to the temple, chest, legs and feet. A heart rate and oxygen monitor will be attached to the finger. The patient will then sleep in a comfortably darkened room, cooled to the temperature requested and a humidifier will be used to keep the air moistened.
While the patient sleeps, the specialist will observe via camera and monitors for episodes of gasping, choking and sleep wave patterns. The leg leads will indicate the amount of leg movement. Blood oxygen levels will be monitored in order to determine if O2 saturation is dropping due to the episodes. At the end of the night, the sleep specialists will be able to offer the diagnosis of sleep apnea and typically the type. Further testing and recommendations will provide the patient with a course of treatment.