Do sleep studies for sleep apnea require a medical referral?

This question was asked in Grand Rapids, Michigan on 06/27/2012.
My husband and I believe I have sleep apnea. I am always tired and he says that I stop breathing in my sleep. I would like to come for a sleep test of some kind. When can I do that and do I need a referral? My health insurance does not require a referral for me to see a specialist.

Doctors Answers (3)

Syed Nabi, M.D.
Answered on: 7/10/2012

You can call around different sleep labs and get your questions answered. Most sleep labs will be able to do a sleep study with a referral. It is best if you see a sleep speciailist as most primary care physicians are not trained to diagnose and manage sleep disorders.

Richard J. Schumann Jr., MD
Answered on: 7/2/2012 1

If you and your primary physician have a strong suspicion that you have significant sleep disordered breathing then referral to a diagnostic sleep center for an overnight evaluation in the lab should take place as soon as possible. After the diagnosis is made then you could follow up with a sleep specialist to help determine the most appropriate mode of therapy for you.

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 7/2/2012 1

Yes, a sleep study requires a physician referral. Your primary care physician can make the referral. An interpretation will be given to your doctor with recommendations for treatment. Your history is very suggestive of obstructive sleep apnea which is easily treated.