Career Profile of a Polysomnographic
Technologist (PSG Technicians)
Profile, Duties & Responsibilities of PSG Technicians
technologist performs, monitors, and scores sleep studies. People
with complaints of snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, restless
legs, and other sleep-related problems have overnight testing performed
in sleep labs. PSG technicians attach several recording devices
to the patient. Technicians then record the data on a computer overnight
while the patient sleeps. Sleep technicians often provide therapeutic
intervention in cases of severe sleep apnea.
of sleep studies, as directed by a physician.
electrical activity of patient's brain waves and other
and adjusts equipment, including troubleshooting minor
and transmits biological specimens for analyses.
and records routine patient assessment.
records and documents other test results to aid physician
in diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders
technologist (or PSGT) runs overnight polysomnograms on those
with suspected sleep disorders or have been ordered to do so by
Becoming a PGTT
To become a PGTT
one must, in most cases, perform overnight polysomnograms for
6 months or attend and graduate from a school of sleep medicine.
from a Registered Polysomnographic technician (RPSGT)
in that they have not yet performed overnight polysomnograms
for 18 months and passed their registry exam through the Board
of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists or BRPT. Taking
the registry exam requires one to first complete guidelines
per BRPT rules.
technologists collect data using PSG's (polysomnograms), which
collect EEG, EOG, EMG, and ECG as well as respiratory flow and effort.
The technologist or an assistant places wired electrodes on one's
head to collect and score brain wave activity (electroencephalogram
Then there are electrodes
which document eye movement (electrooculogram or EOG), fluctuation
of muscle tension usually in the legs and chin (electromyogram or
EMG), and heart rate (ECG or electrocardiogram). This information
was first collected with analog equipment using needle-and-paper
method, but in recent years has been transferred to digital data
collection which appears on a computer screen. The technologist
applies electrodes by first cleaning the area on the skin or scalp
with an exfoliating gel, then applying the electrode with conducting
gel (and sometimes a water-soluable glue) that improves the body's
electrical impedances, thus giving the computer a better readout.
One of the largest growing areas in sleep medicine is in
the area of sleep-disordered breathing, especially Obstructive Sleep
Apnea Syndrome (OSAS), sometimes referred to as Obstructive Sleep
Apnea/Hypopnea Syndrome (OSAHS). An apnea is a cessation of either
one or both respiratory effort and airflow for 10 seconds or longer.
for Polysomnographic Technicians / Technologists
The need for polysomnographic
technicians/technologists is expected to continue to grow in
the coming years due to the increasing awareness of the ability
to diagnose and treat sleep disorders and the risk posed by a sleep
disorder that is undiagnosed and untreated.
Jayakumar. A Lecturer, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences,
Directorate of Distance Education, Sikkim Manipal University, Manipal-576104