Polysomnogram (PSG)

Last updated: April 21, 2019

What Does Polysomnogram (PSG) Mean?

A polysomnogram (PSG) is a clinical measure used in assessing and charting biorhythms during the night, serving to identify sleep pattern deviations that may suggest a sleep disorder or sleep-related breathing disorder. A registered polysomnographic technologist (RPSGT) is a technician who conducts a polysomnogram, coordinating with the patient’s physician or sleep specialist in the exchange of biofeedback to arrive at a diagnosis.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Polysomnogram (PSG)

During polysomnography, the registered polysomnographic technologist measures physiological variables including blood pressure, brainwave activity, heart rate, and eye and limb movements for diagnostic screening purposes. The RPSGT gathers relevant medical history facts combining the presence of ongoing symptoms including breathing cessations, persistent snoring, and excessive daytime sleepiness, serving as clear markers of a suspected sleep disorder. PSG testing covers four subsets including diagnostic overnight PSG, diagnostic daytime multiple sleep latency test (MSLT), two-night evaluation PSG/continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) titration, and split-night PSG with CPAP titration, each test corresponding to baseline standards for isolating sleep disorders.

Biorhythms consist of non-rapid eye movement (NREM), and its subsequent sleep stages (N1, N2, N3) and rapid eye movement (REM), operating on an autonomously repeating cycle that lasts ninety minutes. Sleep disorders can induce an array of symptoms, prompting the RPSGT to implement auxiliary modalities; for example, the MSLT represents the benchmark in diagnosing narcolepsy. Furthermore, companies may authorize their employees to undergo the maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT), serving as a viable method for individuals with a tendency for excessive daytime sleepiness creating occupational hazards in the transportation field.

A polysomnogram is a critical aspect in the diagnosis of sleep disorders that carry epidemiological health risk factors, compounded by short sleep patterns that are secondary to the aging process where individuals are likely to forfeit NREM deep sleep and REM sleep altogether. For instance, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a leading sleep disorder with etiological implications that include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), and obesity. A RPSGT and physician or sleep specialist may determine that a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device can help regulate the breathing cycles following a polysomnogram.


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