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Sleep Center

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Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted or ceases during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing multiple times during sleep. This means the brain and the rest of the body may not get enough oxygen. The brain repeatedly wakes the body up during the night, resulting in excessive day time sleepiness and fatigue. The effects of untreated sleep apnea can have detrimental impact on the heart, worsening heart failure, increased weight, increased blood pressure, migraine headaches, stroke, diabetes and depression. Often times sleep apnea goes undiagnosed until consequential symptoms begin to develop.

It is often the spouse or partner who observes the symptoms, including:

  • Loud snoring
  • Frequent silences during sleep due to breaks in breathing (apnea)
  • Choking or gasping during sleep
  • Sudden awakenings or waking up in a sweat
  • Daytime sleepiness

A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is still the treatment of choice for obstructive sleep apnea, but dental devices and ENT surgeries can work for some people. CPAP machines have improved drastically in recent years. The masks that go over the nose and mouth are much softer and more comfortable, and the machines have technology that allows them to ramp up slowly. In the first half hour, the air pushes through the machine gently, then, when the person is asleep, the machine increases the air pressure up to a therapeutic level.

Sleep Studies

In order to diagnose sleep apnea or other sleep disorders, your doctor may order a polysomnography (sleep study). There are two ways to perform a sleep study. The most

common way is in the sleep lab where the patient stays overnight. During an in-lab sleep study, patients are connected to equipment that records physiological data during sleep. Patients sleep in their own pajamas in a hotel-like setting, not a hospital environment. It is a painless and non-invasive procedure. The in-lab test is able to identify abnormal sleep patterns, sleep apnea and other sleep neurological disorders.

The second type of sleep study is a self-administered home sleep study. The pateint connects to equipment that monitors breathing and sleep patterns. These types of tests are particularly helpful for patients that are homebound or have difficulty leaving their homes. The home sleep study is often a preliminary step to determine if further testing is needed.

In both cases the study data is analyzed by a qualified sleep technician and interpreted by a board-certified sleep physician. The results of the study and further testing or treatment are received by the patient's physician.

Downloadable Forms

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale
Instructions for Your In-Lab Sleep Study
Instructions for Your At-Home Sleep Study
Sleep Questionnaire
Sleep Center Demographic Information Sheet


Sleep studies are considered a hospital outpatient service and are covered by most major health plans. Our registration team will contact your insurance company for authorization once an order is received and before you are scheduled for a study. Physician billing for sleep study interpretation is managed by the sleep physician's independent practice, separate from the hospital billing department.

For More Information

If you think you or your partner may be experiencing sleep deprivation, talk to your physician and request a referral for a sleep consult. Dr. Murtaza will evaluate your symptoms and may recommend either a home study or an in-lab study. He can then evaluate the study results and determine a course of treatment. The Sleep Center is located on the third floor of the Warrenton Professional Building, at 493 Blackwell Road in Warrenton. For more information, call 540-316-2660.