Positive Airway Pressure Sleep Studies

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



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 June 2022