How do doctors diagnose sleep apnea?

If your child has symptoms of sleep apnea, the doctor will most likely have them see a doctor who specializes in sleep apnea.

The doctor might also have your child take the following tests:

  • Overnight sleep study (also called nocturnal polysomnogram, or PSG). This is when your child stays overnight in a sleep lab at the hospital. A sleep doctor will check your child’s breathing patterns, arm and leg movements and oxygen levels while they sleep.
  • Home sleep test (HST). An HST is when a doctor will teach you how to check your child’s oxygen levels and breathing patterns at home while they sleep.
  • If the doctor thinks your child might have central sleep apnea, he might recommend that your child have imaging (X-rays) of the brain.
Rev. 2/2018. MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This webpage is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.