Sleep apnea is potentially deadly, but it is treatable. However, people can only get treated if they know they have the condition. Unfortunately, most people with sleep apnea, perhaps 80%, remain undiagnosed. Therefore, matching people with proper diagnostic tools is critical to ensure people avoid the potential dangers of sleep apnea.
Home tests help with this. People who don’t want to go to a sleep lab for polysomnography find it more comfortable—and affordable—to test for sleep apnea in the comfort of their own home and bed. A new sleep apnea diagnostic tool promises to be less invasive and more accurate than the standard sleep test currently in use. Early research shows that this technology is highly accurate and that many people who were tested for sleep apnea with old technology might have gotten inaccurate results.
New Noninvasive Monitoring Technology
According to results published in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, about half of people tested have some level of sleep apnea, and 22.6% of people have moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea.
Researchers conducted testing with a new device, called the Withings Sleep Analyzer (WSA), which includes under-mattress sleep sensors that measure body movement, heart rate, respiratory rate, and snoring. It can also detect when people stop breathing.
This technology has many potential benefits for users. First, it requires no nightly application. People don’t have to put on sensors or gauges. They simply go to bed. This also means sensors won’t come off in the middle of the night, improving data accuracy.
Second, the technology can remain in place to perform long-term testing. In this study, patients were tested over an average of 170 nights, allowing researchers to form a consistent picture of a person’s regular sleeping habits.
Finally, the technology has high accuracy compared to the current standard testing method. The WSA has about 90% sensitivity and specificity for moderate to severe sleep apnea when compared against traditional polysomnography—the kind you’d get in a sleep lab.