What are the Different Kinds of Sleep Apnea Research?

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  • Written By: T. Webster
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2018
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Most sleep apnea research is concerned with the prevention, treatment and cure of the condition in patients. Sleep apnea research is then used in hospitals and sleep clinics that treat patients. Patients often will stay overnight in a hospital or clinic to receive research-based diagnostic treatment.

Sleep apnea research has found that there are three types of sleep apnea. The most common kind is caused by some sort of airway obstruction, such as a deviated septum in the nose. Another type, central sleep apnea, is considered more serious because it is related to neurological problems. Complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea and is so serious that, in some cases, it can lead to death.

One form of sleep apnea research involves studies using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. The CPAP device is a face mask that gently pushes air through the airwaves so that the patient can breathe freely. CPAP studies generally are conducted to see how the patient does with the therapy and to educate the patient about how to use the device. A CPAP device also can be used at home, although it can be costly to purchase.


Some sleep apnea research includes plenty of input from the patient. Patients often will be asked to keep detailed records of their sleep, including any problems such as frequent awakening during the night. Other things that might be recorded include caffeine consumption, smoking and drinking. Some of these habits can aggravate or cause sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea research also can involve hooking up patients to monitoring equipment. During a study or a diagnostic phase, a series of belts and electrodes are adhered to the patient to measure things such as blood oxygen, brain wave activity, muscle activity and eye movement while the patient is sleeping. All of this information is connected to a monitor that is watched by a technician. A video recording also might be made of all of the activity.

During testing at a hospital or clinic, a patient is observed by a technician who watches the patient sleep and makes observations. Depending on what is discovered, additional testing might be ordered, or a treatment plan might be prescribed. Extensive testing might be done in severe cases.

In a sleep clinic, technicians likely will handle all of the sleep apnea research tests. There might also be a supervising physician on hand during testing. Either way, the results of the studies usually are interpreted by medical doctors.



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