Screening and diagnosis

ResMed is committed to sharing its in-depth knowledge of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) screening.

If your patient displays symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing, we can help you accurately refer your patient for an OSA diagnosis.

Diagnosis: key steps


Recognise and identify common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).


Ask your patient to undergo a sleep apnoea screening test by completing a symptom questionnaire or by using a home sleep screening device.


Based on the results of the screening, recommend a sleep study for your patient to monitor and determine the severity of their OSA.

All about sleep studies

Sleep studies should be performed in the patient’s home or at a sleep clinic, in line with local rules and regulations.

During a sleep study, your patient’s breathing, body movements and responses during the night are monitored to see if them has a sleep disorder such as sleep apnoea.

Below is some information you can pass on to your patients about what happens during a sleep study.

Sleep study in a clinic


In a clinic, hospital or sleep lab, clinical staff will place sensors on your patient’s body to monitor their sleep.

Sensors are placed:

    • On the chest to monitor heart activity;
    • Close to the eyelids to measure eye movements that help indicate if the patient is in REM or non-REM sleep;
    • On the head to measure electrical signals from the brain;
    • On the legs to assess muscle activity.

Patients will also be fitted with:

    • A nasal cannula to monitor breathing;
    • An oximeter on their finger to record oxygen levels;
    • Bands around their chest and stomach to measure breathing effort.

With your patient’s permission, staff may also ask to film the sleep study to gain more insights into the patient’s sleeping behaviour.

During this type of study, your patient will be required to stay overnight at the facility, so they should take everything needed for their usual sleeping routine, including pyjamas and toiletries.

Sleep study at home


There are two types of set-up for a home sleep study:

  1. A home set-up is similar to that in a clinic, hospital or sleep lab – with the added comfort and convenience of being in the patient’s own home. Usually, for a home sleep study, the patient would be fitted with fewer sensors than for an in-patient study, as the focus is on recording data about breathing. Prior to the sleep study night, a sleep clinician will have shown your patient how to apply the sensors and monitors, and how to use the recording device during the night. The night of the sleep test, the patient should simply follow a normal evening routine and get ready for sleep, attach everything as shown, and start the recording. In the morning, the patient removes everything as shown and returns the recording device to the clinic, hospital or sleep lab.
  2. A sleep screening study can be performed using ResMed’s  ApneaLink Air, a compact, lightweight and easy-to-use home sleep testing device. The night of the sleep test, the patient places the sensors on designated parts of the body to start the recording. Our ApneaLink Air home sleep testing device detects apnoeas, hypopnoeas, flow limitation, snoring and blood oxygen saturation. It also calculates the probability of Cheyne-Stokes respiration breathing patterns within the recording, enabling accurate differentiation between obstructive and central apnoeas. Your patient’s results can then be further analysed the next day at a clinic, hospital or sleep lab. The ApneaLink Air report provides detailed signal analysis and streamlines the care process for healthcare professionals. The results from ResMed home sleep testing devices are compatible with AirView, a comprehensive diagnostic software solution for sleep facilities.

Home sleep testing is thus made easy with our compact, cost-effective, reliable testing devices. Learn more about the following solutions:

What do sleep studies measure?

Among other things, the sleep study will indicate the severity of your patient’s condition, which is classified using the apnoea/hypopnea index (AHI).

The AHI score indicates the number of apnoeas and hypopneas your patient has per hour (<5 to 30+).1

Severity AHI (per hour)
Normal <5
Mild 5 to <15
Moderate 15 to <30
Severe 30+

In addition to the patient’s AHI, the diagnosis will take into account the patient’s oxygen desaturation and in case of OSA, excessive daytime sleepiness.

Once you receive your patient’s sleep study results, you can then talk to them about the condition (if it’s present), its severity, its possible health effects and  treatment options.

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More about sleep-disordered breathing

The first sign of a sleep disorder is snoring, even though many patients won’t identify that as a sign of something more serious. There are other common symptoms too.

Read more

There are three types of sleep apnoea: Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA) and mixed or complex sleep apnoea. Each type has distinctive characteristics that enable diagnosis.

Read more

When left untreated, patients with SDB like OSA and CSA have an increased risk of developing serious chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. A significant number of patients with COPD also have SDB.

Read more


  1. American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Sleep-related breathing disorders in adults: recommendations for syndrome definition and measurement techniques in clinical research. The Report of an American Academy of Sleep Medicine Task Force. Sleep, 1999. 22(5): p.667-89.