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Lauren is a Certified Sleep Science Coach with extensive experience researching and testing a wide variety of sleep products.
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First announced in 2019 and now available for online purchase, the SleepApnea.org WatchPAT One is an at-home testing device for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The device consists of chest, wrist, and finger sensors that monitor seven different bodily metrics associated with OSA. If worn properly, the WatchPAT One can record enough data in one night to determine whether you qualify for an OSA diagnosis. SleepApnea.org partnered with Itamar Medical to produce the device.
The WatchPAT One is a true game-changer. Historically, most people have needed an overnight sleep study to receive an OSA diagnosis. Sleep studies are highly effective, but they can also be expensive and — for many people — inconvenient. While this is not the first at-home test for OSA, most earlier models have lacked the tracking technology needed for conclusive results. The WatchPAT One makes the process of getting an OSA diagnosis faster, cheaper, and more convenient than traditional sleep studies.
OSA is a sleep disorder characterized by temporary loss of breath during sleep that causes people to snore heavily, choke, or gasp for air in their sleep. The condition occurs due to a physical obstruction blocking the breathing passages. Common causes of OSA include an enlarged tongue, swollen tonsils or adenoids, a shorter lower jaw, and growths on the roof of the mouth. Obesity can also lead to OSA.
People are diagnosed for OSA using a score known as the Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI). Apneas are a complete loss of breathing for several seconds, and hypopneas represent a partial loss of breathing. People with OSA may experience hundreds of apneic and hypopneic episodes during a single night. According to current AHI score guidelines, people who experience 30 or more episodes per hour have severe OSA.
People with OSA often experience excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability, and headaches the following day. They are also at greater risk for workplace accidents and vehicle collisions. Over time, people with OSA are more susceptible to heart failure, stroke, depression, and anxiety. For these reasons, doctors stress an OSA diagnosis is crucial for your immediate and long-term health.
The WatchPAT One consists of a wristband attached to a finger probe and chest monitor. Using these three contact points, the device tracks seven metrics:
These metrics are widely used to diagnose people for OSA. As long as the wristband, chest monitor, and finger probe remain secure, one night of sleep should yield sufficient results.
There are other steps you’ll need to take before and after wearing the device. The process is as follows.
You’ll need to download the WatchPAT One companion app before using the device. This app allows you to unlock the device on your phone with a product code, then walks you through the steps of securing the wristband, finger probe, and chest monitor. When everything is set up, you’ll press “start recording” to begin the test.
All three of the WatchPAT One’s components are lightweight and unobtrusive. However, some people struggle to sleep as they normally would with the wristband, finger probe, and chest monitor in place. The latter may also come loose with sleep position changes. For this reason, you should secure the chest monitor with medical tape. A helpful setup video can be found on SleepApnea.org’s website.
The WatchPAT One transmits data to your phone throughout the night. For this reason, your phone must remain within 15 feet of you and the device at all times. You should also close all unnecessary applications and charge your phone overnight — otherwise the test will not proceed. In the morning, follow prompts on the app for removing the device and closing the app.
The WatchPAT One is designed for one-time use. Assuming the device is worn properly and data is transmitted, you can dispose of the WatchPAT One after removing it.
The WatchPAT One is FDA-approved and considered safe for most people 18 or older. That said, the device is best suited to people with undiagnosed OSA who do not want to participate in an overnight sleep study or cannot commit to the study due to financial reasons. The same is true for those who are willing to undergo a sleep study but cannot schedule an appointment due to a backlog at their nearest facility.
Additionally, you should consider WatchPAT One if you are experiencing one or more of the following OSA symptoms:
The WatchPAT One is not recommended for individuals 17 and younger, anyone with heart problems, and those with mild sleep apnea.
The WatchPAT One has certain advantages compared to traditional overnight sleep studies. These include:
You should also note that the WatchPAT One has certain drawbacks, such as:
As of October 2022, the WatchPAT One costs $239. The testing device costs $169, and the additional $70 covers your physician consultations. Sales tax is added during checkout. Your insurance may cover some or all of the cost, depending on your provider and plan. If you use Medicare, you’ll be responsible for 20% of the cost after meeting your Part B deductible.
SleepApnea.org offers free standard delivery to all 50 states. You can also choose from three expedited shipping options if you need the WatchPAT One within a few days. The device will be delivered to your home and does not require a signature.
You may return the WatchPAT One within 60 days as long as it is unused and unopened with all seals intact. We recommend waiting to open the box until after your initial video chat with your assigned doctor. If the doctor decides you don’t meet the criteria for OSA and WatchPAT One testing, you’ll receive a full refund.
With comprehensive tracking technology and near-perfect accuracy when worn properly, the SleepApnea.org WatchPAT One is a true game-changer for at-home sleep apnea tests. The device also represents a more affordable and convenient alternative to overnight sleep studies, and those who undergo the at-home test will have licensed physicians assisting them throughout the process.
The WatchPAT One isn’t for everyone, including children and those with heart problems or mild sleep apnea symptoms. You may also need further testing for an OSA diagnosis if the device does not yield concrete results. However, these are mild criticisms compared to the WatchPAT One’s potential to aid people with undiagnosed OSA as well as the physical and mental health complications associated with this condition.
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