Oximetry is a test that measures your oxygen level and heart rate. This is part of the Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) Screening process. When used overnight, a continuous measurement can be graphed. The patterns that are produced can assist in the diagnosing of Sleep Apnea.
Through this quick and easy test, a clinical diagnosis can be made by your physician. To be tested, IRS Independent Respiratory Services (IRS) requires a referral from your physician that can be faxed to 1-866-888-6011.
Overnight Oximetry Set-Up & Sleep Diary
At a normal bedtime, place the probe on a finger (no rings or nail polish) with the cord to the monitor. Tape along the top of the finger. Tape in one or two places on the finger and twice on the back of the hand as shown. Leave the monitor in its case. DO NOT put tape around the probe. Note: If a person’s finger is very cold due to poor blood circulation, monitoring may not work.
Turn the monitor on by pushing the “I” button. If there is a good signal, a green light should flash with each heartbeat and there should be a SpO2 and heart rate number above it. When the numbers are displayed and the green light is flashing, push the “up arrow” button to dim the lights and go to sleep. Note: If you wake up to go to the bathroom, or the probe feels too tight and you put it on a different finger, note the time on the diary provided.
In the morning turn the monitor off by pushing the “0″ button. If there were any concerns that monitoring wasn’t successful please call IRS Independent Respiratory Services at 1-877-965-6204.
Deliver monitor the next day back to the IRS office or clinic. Or if you were instructed, ship the monitor, and any notes or questionnaires, back to your local IRS office. Shipping costs are your responsibility.
* We require that the monitor be sent back to us promptly the day after your test is finished.
Level 3 Ambulatory Portable Monitoring Study
If the oximetry is border line it is best to have a higher level of testing. A testing device that can measure more information such as; chest excursion, heart rate, oxygen levels in the blood, air flow from the nostrils and presence of snoring. This is a multi-channel recording device.
At IRS we use both the Apnea Link and the Stardust Recording units. Both units meet the specifications recommended by the Canadian Thoracic Society Guidelines. This type of test is downloaded at the office and given to a sleep specialist for interpretation.
About Polysomnography Overnight Sleep Studies
The most thorough way to test for sleep apnea is to have an overnight stay at a sleep clinic, called polysomnography, or PSG.
The cost of such overnight stays in Canada is covered by the Medical Services Plan of your province.
The PSG measures breathing and apneas, chest movement, oxygen levels, REM, leg movement, brain activity and heart rate through about 25 external probes attached to your head, neck, chest, and legs. None of these tests require the puncturing of the skin. These measurements are monitored throughout the night.
It is matter of discussion and opinion whether all this information is essential to diagnose OSA, (Obstructive Sleep Apnea), but this extra information will help diagnose other less common breathing disorders as well as other medical conditions such as heart failure and brain disorders.
If sleep apnea is confirmed by PSG, most sleep specialists will insist on a second overnight stay, where again the probes will be attached, as well as a face mask. Varying air pressures will be applied throughout the night to determine the optimal settings for the patient.
Many possible sleep apnea sufferers do not want the inconvenience and commitment of a night away from home. There is also considerable delay in obtaining a bed in public sleep clinics, ranging from 1 to 6 months.
Sleep Study Advantages
A full sleep study is the most complete test to determine sleep apnea and its medical effects, although some find it intimidating, uncomfortable and inconvenient.
For those who cannot or do not want an overnight sleep study, a simple home test such as Overnight Oximetry is an option. With home screening, the client will know whether Sleep Apnea is a problem, and can then investigate or treat further.
How Can IRS Help
- Referral: A Representative will schedule a consultation for you with one of our Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRT) within 48 hours of referral.
- Consultation: You and your RRT will review your sleep and health history.
- Results: Your test results will be provided to your Physician. If they are positive your Physician may prescribe CPAP Therapy.
- Treatment: When we receive your Physician’s prescription we will schedule an appointment with you to start CPAP Therapy. You will have frequent contact with us throughout your CPAP Trial to ensure your therapy is optimized. A report of your progress on CPAP Therapy will be sent to your Physician.
- Ongoing Service & Support: Scheduled annual therapy reviews will occur, and you are welcome to contact us at any time for assistance.
- Financing your therapy: We will help you access Extended Health Benefits and other funding options. Flexible financing is also available.
- Follow-up assessments: System maintenance and Physician communication are part of IRS’ commitment to providing exceptional service.