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question about oximeters for detection of apnea
#1
Hello all,

I wish to check if I suffer from apnea, and I wonder if an oximeter could help me determine if I have apnea. However, I did a small test with an oximeter of a clinic: My SpO2 was 97% and I stopped breathing for 60 seconds, and my SpO2 didn't drop at all. My pulse was raised by 10bpm during the last 10 seconds, and after starting to breathe again, my pulse lowered 20bpm to be 10bpm below baseline. I felt very uncomfortable during the last 10 seconds, but my SpO2 didn't show any change, and therefor I am thinking, that maybe an oximeter wouldn't reflect an apnea event for me. I think that maybe pulse rate would reflect it, but I don't know if during the relaxed state of sleep, the pulse rises as much due to apnea. What do you think?
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#2
That's why sleep labs use multiple sensors that measure PSaO2, EEG, EKG, chest effort, eye movement... et cetera.

If you have risk factors, why not opt for at least a home sleep test. Less than optimal; but better than an oximeter.

Some local labs that set a person up for a home test have them come in and get "wired" for the night.

BTW -- did you mean that while awake on an oximeter that you held your breath for 60 seconds?
If so, then not a useful test. I ask because if asleep; how would you know that you stopped breathing for 60 seconds?
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#3
(08-12-2014, 08:57 AM)justMongo Wrote: BTW -- did you mean that while awake on an oximeter that you held your breath for 60 seconds?
If so, then not a useful test. I ask because if asleep; how would you know that you stopped breathing for 60 seconds?

Yes, I stopped my breath while awake for 60 seconds. I did that, in order to see how the SpO2 will be affected. What I was thinking when I did that test, is that if there will be a drop in SpO2, then I could get a recording oximeter, and measure my SpO2 at night, and the next day I could review the results, and if I would see there a similar drop in SpO2, then I would know that at that time I stopped breathing for about 60 seconds. However, I didn't see any drop with the oximeters of two different doctors clinics, in which I tried this test while awake. Therefor I am wondering if my SpO2 was really not affected by not breathing for 60 seconds, or if it was affected, but the clinics' oximeters responded too slowly to SpO2 changes, and if so would other oximenters respond quicker, and which ones?

About a sleep lab, I don't have an option to undergo that test in the near future.
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#4
Yes, that test is not going to mean anything for you John. If you put a plastic bag over your head eventually your O2 level will drop. But that would not mean you have Apnea either. Do not try this test at home....

Look to the symptoms:

Do you feel tired during the day? I mean, fall asleep kind of tired. A hazard on the open highway. You have serious spaghetti stains on your face from falling asleep into your dinner plate.

Do you get up often during the night to take a bathroom break? I don't mean once or twice after drinking two gallons of tea while watching Conan, I mean 5 or 6 times for no good reason.

Do you experience dry mouth in the night? Not a little dry, but Mojave dessert dry.

Do you have trouble paying attention to details during the day? Do you remember what I just said?

......and then there's the snoring thing: Has the harbor patrol come by to complain that you are setting off their tsunami alerts?

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#5
(08-12-2014, 11:47 AM)retired_guy Wrote: ......and then there's the snoring thing: Has the harbor patrol come by to complain that you are setting off their tsunami alerts?

LOL retired_guy Big Grin

No, I don't have any of these mentioned symptoms. I feel bad when I wake up. I don't know why.
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#6
Maybe it's just knowing you have to put your teddy bear away until night... I know I have that issue...............
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#7
(08-12-2014, 12:35 PM)retired_guy Wrote: Maybe it's just knowing you have to put your teddy bear away until night... I know I have that issue...............

LOL retired_guy Big Grin

I wish that was the problem, but if it was, then I would have just stacked with my teddy bear during the day.

Anyway, back to the subject, I suspect that I have apnea, and I want to test it, and I don't have the option to go to a lab. I am wondering if there are oximeters that can detect apnea, or if the pulse rate indicate it. I am also curious why that SpO2 didn't drop when I tested it.
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#8
John, "Sleep Apnea" is called "Sleep Apnea" because it's only present when you sleep. When you're awake completely different rules apply. During an apnea event when asleep, O2 CAN decrease, but that's more or an "oh by the way" thing. It doesn't necessarily HAVE to decrease. At least, not right away.

I suspect from everything you have said that you do not have Sleep Apnea. But, if you want to find out for sure the only way to reliably do that is with a sleep test. Some of these can be administered at home and are a lot less expensive. But expensive or not, the place to start is with your friendly local GP.
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#9
Under normal circumstances, your lungs are already fairly "deflated" (figuratively speaking) from exhaling, and the apnea keeps you from taking in any fresh air. With you holding your breath for 60 seconds, I assumed you filled up your lungs until they were almost hurting and slowly exhaled maybe a little along the way as it got more painful to hold (yep - I tried it, curious to see if I could make it to 60 LOL! Alas I only hit 40 seconds). I'm thinking the lungs full of air skewed your test a bit as your lungs still had access to a bit of oxygen.
Sandy
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#10
(08-12-2014, 12:58 PM)john4131 Wrote: Anyway, back to the subject, I suspect that I have apnea, and I want to test it, and I don't have the option to go to a lab. I am wondering if there are oximeters that can detect apnea, or if the pulse rate indicate it.

I think the best type of test for apnea's would be with an CPAP auto machine with data so that you can see what is going along with the reported results. Not sure if you have access to getting one or if perhaps you know someone who might be able to do that.

Quote:I am also curious why that SpO2 didn't drop when I tested it.
Which device are you using, it might not be very accurate.

I have a cheap one that works well (no data) that I tested against the one at the DR's office, but when I hold my breath for any period of time, my heart rate drops long before the SpO2% does. Eventually it drops, but that would be a long time not breathing before that happened or when it happened a lot an hour.

Other than the sleep study I had taken 8 years ago, I have no idea what my SpO2% is while I sleep, but I know my AHI is very good down from 96+ to under 5 or even less every night. New sensor arrived today and I will be sleeping with it to see what it shows.
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