Positive Airway Pressure Sleep Studies

A Positive Airway Pressure Sleep study is an overnight sleep test in a facility while wearing a form of positive airway pressure. Positive airway pressure is the most used form of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep testing on positive airway pressure may be ordered for many reasons.  A new diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common. For a newly diagnosed patient, the study is started at a low pressure and the pressure is increased (titrated) upwards until the apnea is corrected.  A positive airway pressure sleep test gives a patient experience with sleeping with pressure, a chance to try one or more types of masks and observe how the night affects the next day. The sleep physician will benefit by being able to identify the best pressure or pressures, the type of machine that condition requires and if there are any additional sleep disorders present.

There are times that a sleep study on positive airway pressure is performed when apnea is known to be a problem and a person is already wearing positive airway pressure nightly.  These tests are performed when a person has not responded to the therapy appropriately.  Symptoms may have persisted.  A second disorder of sleep is suspected.

 The Test

The CPAP titration study is performed to measure the effect of breathing air at a pressure that is slightly higher than atmospheric pressure. The most common form of this test uses constant positive airway pressure (CPAP). While the subject sleeps, the technicians will monitor measurements for obstructive apnea and gradually increase the amount of pressure to control the obstructions. People who are found to have obstructive sleep apnea during a sleep study at home or on a facility diagnostic sleep test will benefit from a CPAP titration study.

Testing sleep on Positive Airway Pressure (PAP)

A sleep test with CPAP is very similar to a diagnostic sleep test. The only difference is that the air breathed will be room air at a slightly higher pressure through a special mask. Before the test is started the sleep technician will assist you in selecting a mask to wear.  Masks are specially designed and constructed to use with PAP treatment. All of the sensors used during a diagnostic study will be used again. The only addition will be the positive airway pressure mask.

The sleep technicians are experienced professionals who have assisted hundreds of individuals with choosing a mask. They will guide your selection. If you have serious worries about wearing a mask during sleep, let the Sleep Center staff know and be sure to tell your sleep technician the night of your study.

Page FactIdentifying the correct pressure and mask for each individual is the key to successful Positive Airway Pressure treatment.

Updated 2020