Sleep study polygraphy

Information for patients

Respiratory and sleep physiology

Please read this information carefully before your appointment.

Your appointment letter will tell you the location, date, and time of your appointment.

Why do I need this test?

Polygraphy (sometimes referred to as Semi or Limited Polysomnography) is a type of sleep study, used to identify sleep related breathing problems. You may or may not have already had an overnight oximetry study, which monitors your oxygen level and pulse rate through your sleep. Polygraphy is a more detailed sleep test and will give us more information regarding your breathing during sleep.

Where does the test take place?

Most commonly, you will collect the equipment from the department, and perform the test at home in your own bed that night. Your appointment letter will tell you the location, date, and time of your appointment. You will be required to return the equipment for download the following morning at a time agreed with the Respiratory Physiologist or Healthcare Science Support Worker who issues you with the equipment.

Please take care of the equipment whilst on loan to you. It is essential that it is returned on time the following morning so that it can be processed and cleaned for the next patient.

If required, the test may be performed overnight in hospital. Please refer to your appointment letter, which will indicate if the study requires an overnight stay.

What does the test measure?

Polygraphy will make several measurements during your sleep. These include:

  • Airflow from your nose
  • Chest and abdomen movement
  • Oxygen levels
  • Pulse rate
  • Body movement
  • Sound
  • Video (in hospital only)

How do I set up the equipment?

At your appointment to collect the home polygraphy equipment, a Respiratory Physiologist will explain and demonstrate how to use it. There will also be step by step written instructions with picture guides to help you. Whilst the test is more detailed, it is relatively simple to set up.

If your test is to be performed overnight in hospital, you will have an appointment with a Physiologist to demonstrate the equipment prior to your study later that evening.

What happens with the results?

Your study will be downloaded and then analysed by a Respiratory Physiologist. Once analysed, a report will be written. If you have been referred by Pre Assessment Clinic (PAC), the report will be sent to the PAC nurses as soon as it is processed.

Once the report has been processed, one of the following outcomes will occur:

  • An appointment to discuss your results with one of the Respiratory team
  • A letter informing you (and your referrer, e.g. GP) of the results
  • Referral to another service (e.g. treatment for snoring)
  • A repeat polygraphy appointment (e.g. if we do not have enough good quality data)

What if I cannot attend?

If you are unable to attend the appointment that has been arranged for you, please contact the department on 01709 424572 as soon as possible so that we can organise another appointment for you, and offer your appointment time to another patient on our waiting list.

What will happen if I do not want this test?

You can choose whether or not to have the tests, but if you do choose not to complete them, important information may be missed which may impact on receiving an accurate diagnosis and treatment. 

How to contact us

Respiratory and Sleep Physiology 

01709 424572 
Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm

Sleep study polygraphy - patient information leaflet
Produced by Department of Respiratory and Sleep Physiology, February 2022. 
Revision due: February 2024. Version: 1.0
©The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust 2022. All rights reserved

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