A sleep study is a good thing to have, it'll detect lots of things that an auto PAP can't. An auto PAP machine is no substitute for a sleep study.
Apnea Board Moderator
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If you get the correct CPAP machine, it gives you sort of a mini sleep study all night every night, and records the data. I think every CPAPer should have one and review the data, and make adjustments to their therapy based on real world results.
Check my signature line for info on which machines do this and record full data.
I think for most patients, proper use of an APAP machine WITH PROPER REVIEW of the data it records would provide much better results than the current medical mafia standard of an in-lab $leep te$t, followed by dispensing a non-data CPAP machine and/or ignoring the nightly, in home, real world, treatment data.
However, I believe auto CPAP is not just "turn it on and forget it." You need to start with a pressure high enough to mostly cure your apnea. Without that, you may struggle with apnea for a while until the machine sees the problem and increases the pressure. Some people also find the machine "runs away" and goes to too high of a pressure.
I find I feel better if I set the minimum pressure a bit above where the machine "thinks" it should be.
All modern APAP machines allow you to set a minimum (starting) pressure and a maximum pressure.
Even if you have a manual CPAP machine, as long as you get a fully data capable one, it still measures your breathing and apnea every night. You can send the data card to your doctor and he can adjust the pressure up and down until he finds the right level.
Be careful, some DME's (CPAP salesmen) will lie to you and claim their machine is data capable when all it records is on/off hours. Read the link in my signature line and get one of the fully data capable machines.
I think most in-lab sleep tests could be skipped for people who are known to be apneacs, as long as a competent doctor/technician reviews the results of a fully data capable CPAP and makes adjustments. If you still have apnea problems, they should be obvious from the data and you can have another in-lab sleep test if necessary.
By the way, many doctors/technicians are NOT competent at reading CPAP machine data and will miss problems. Many of them just look at AHI numbers or even just look at hours of usage because that's all the insurance company requires.
Get the free SleepyHead software here
for information on the main alternative to CPAP.
If it's midnight and a DME tells you it's dark outside, go and check it yourself.