Ambulatory Sleep Study

A level 3 sleep study is a portable sleep study performed at home. This test is used to screen for obstructive sleep apnea. The device records your heart rate, oxygen saturation, airflow, snoring and chest expansion and other parameters during the night. The sleep test equipment is picked up at our clinic where instructions are provided. It is then returned next morning after the testing. The study data is then uploaded for analysis and interpretation by one of our respirologists.

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What is obstructive sleep apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a serious medical disorder in which your throat tissues collapse during sleep. This collapsed tissue obstructs air from reaching your lungs when you breathe in. The breathing pauses, called “apneas”, can last for 10 to 30 seconds, sometimes longer. OSA stops you from having the restful sleep you need to stay healthy. If it’s not treated, sleep apnea can lead to daytime somnolence, and reduced cognitive function. People with untreated OSA have an increased risk of motor vehicle crashes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and early death.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Hypertension and decreased blood oxygen levels are common symptoms for people with sleep apnea, but these are not easily detected. Here are the symptoms that are easiest to identify without diagnostic testing:

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Snoring (people with OSA usually snore but not always)
  • Witnessed apneas or irregular breathing during sleep (gasping, long pauses, etc – a spouse or partner may notice these)
  • Impaired concentration
  • Impaired memory
  • Morning headaches
  • Sexual dysfunction

Risk Factors for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Physicians have identified a number of factors that may increase a person’s risk of having obstructive sleep apnea:

  • Obesity
  • Snoring
  • Family history of obstructive sleep apnea or snoring
  • Small upper airway (large tongue, large uvula, recessed chin, excess tissue in the throat and/or soft palate)

Heavier people have a greater risk of sleep apnea. In addition, the heavier a person becomes the more severe obstructive sleep apnea becomes, so most physicians recommend exercise and a healthy diet for people with obstructive sleep apnea.


There is no cure for obstructive sleep apnea, but it can be treated. Often, the best treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). It's the only effective treatment for severe sleep apnea.

If you have mild or moderate sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend one of these alternate treatments instead of CPAP:

  • Making lifestyle changes: losing weight, avoiding alcohol and sedatives
  • Dental appliances
  • Surgery, including tonsillectomy and UPPP