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Polysomnography for Non‒Respiratory Sleep Disorders

Policy Number: MP-619

Latest Review Date: July 2019

Category: Medicine

Policy Grade: D

Description of Procedure or Service

 

Polysomnography (PSG) records multiple physiologic parameters relevant to sleep. Video recording may also be performed during PSG to assess parasomnias such as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder.

Hypersomnias

The hypersomnias include such disorders as narcolepsy, Klein-Levine syndrome, and idiopathic hypersomnolence. Narcolepsy is a neurologic disorder characterized predominantly by abnormalities of rapid eye movement REM sleep, some abnormalities of non-REM (NREM) sleep, and the presence of excessive daytime sleepiness that cannot be fully relieved by any amount of sleep. The classic symptoms include hypersomnolence, cataplexy, sleep paralysis, and hypnagogic (onset of sleep) hallucinations. Cataplexy refers to the total or partial loss of muscle tone in response to sudden emotion. Most patients with cataplexy have abnormally low levels of hypocretin-1 (orexin A) in the cerebrospinal fluid. Narcolepsy Type 1 (narcolepsy with cataplexy) is defined as excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and at least one of the following criteria: (a) hypocretin deficiency or (b) cataplexy and a positive multiple sleep latency test (MSLT). In the MSLT, the patient lies down in a dark quiet room to assess the time to enter the different stages of sleep. The test is repeated every two hours throughout the day, and the maximum time allowed to fall sleep is typically set at 20 minutes. Patients with narcolepsy often have a mean sleep latency of less than five minutes and two or more early-onset REM periods during the MSLT naps. People with idiopathic hypersomnia fall asleep easily but typically do not reach REM sleep during the MSLT. Narcolepsy Type 2 (narcolepsy without cataplexy) is defined by chronic sleepiness plus a positive MSLT; hypocretin-1 levels are in the normal range in most patients.

Parasomnias

Parasomnias are abnormal behavioral, experiential, or physiologic events that occur during entry into sleep, within sleep, or during arousals from sleep. Parasomnias can result in a serious disruption of sleep-wake schedules and family functioning. Some, particularly sleepwalking, sleep terrors, and REM sleep behavior disorder, can cause injury to the patient and others. Parasomnias are classified into parasomnias associated with REM sleep, parasomnias associated with NREM sleep, and other parasomnias.

Parasomnias Associated With REM Sleep

REM sleep is normally accompanied by muscle atonia, in which there is almost complete paralysis of the body through inhibition of motor neurons. In patients with REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), muscle tone is maintained during REM sleep. This can lead to abnormal or disruptive behaviors associated with vivid dreams such as talking, laughing, shouting, gesturing, grabbing, flailing arms, punching, kicking, sitting up or leaping from bed, and running. Violent episodes that carry a risk of harm to the patient or bed partner may occur up to several times nightly. Idiopathic RBD is associated with the development of degenerative synucleinopathies (Parkinson disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, multiple systems atrophy) in about half of patients. Guidelines recommend maintaining a safe sleeping environment for both the patient and bed partner along with medical therapy. Other parasomnias associated with REM sleep are recurrent isolated sleep paralysis and nightmare disorder.

Parasomnias Associated With Non-REM Sleep

Disorders of arousal from NREM sleep result from the intrusion of wake into NREM sleep. These include confusional arousals, sleepwalking, and sleep terrors. In these parasomnias, the patient has incomplete awakening from NREM sleep, usually appears awake with eyes open, is unresponsive to external stimuli, and is amnestic to the event. Sleepwalking can range from calm behaviors such as walking through a house to violent and/or injurious behaviors such as jumping out of a second story window. Patients with sleep terrors (also called night terrors) typically awaken with a loud scream and feeling of intense fear, jump out of bed, and occasionally may commit a violent act.

Other Parasomnias

The category of “other parasomnias” has no specific relationship to sleep stage and includes Sleep related dissociative disorders, sleep-related enuresis, sleep-related groaning, exploding head syndrome, sleep-related hallucinations, and a sleep-related eating disorder. Diagnosis of these disorders is primarily clinical, although PSG may be used for differential diagnosis.

  • In sleep-related dissociative disorders, behaviors occur during an awakening, but the patient is amnestic to them.
  • Sleep-related enuresis (bedwetting) is characterized by recurrent involuntary voiding in patients greater than five years of age.
  • Sleep-related groaning is a prolonged vocalization that can occur during either NREM or REM sleep.
  • Exploding head syndrome is a sensation of a sudden loud noise or explosive feeling within the head upon falling asleep or during awakening from sleep.
  • Sleep-related hallucinations are hallucinations that occur upon falling asleep or on awakening.
  • Sleep-related eating disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of arousals from sleep with involuntary eating or drinking. Patients may have several episodes during the night, typically eat foods that they would not eat during the day, and may injure themselves by cooking during sleep.

Sleep-Related Movement Disorders

Sleep-related movement disorders include restless legs syndrome (RLS) and periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD).

Restless Legs Syndrome

RLS is a neurologic disorder characterized by uncomfortable or odd sensations in the leg that usually occur during periods of relaxation, such as while watching television, reading, or attempting to fall asleep. Symptoms occur primarily in the evening. The sensations are typically described as creeping, crawling, itchy, burning, or tingling. There is an urge to move in an effort to relieve these feelings, which may be partially relieved by activities such as rubbing or slapping the leg, bouncing the feet, or walking around the room.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

PLMs are involuntary, stereotypic, repetitive limb movements during sleep, which most often occur in the lower extremities, including the toes, ankles, knees, and hips, and occasionally in the upper extremities. The repetitive movements can cause fragmented sleep architecture, with frequent awakenings, a reduction in slow wave sleep and decreased sleep efficiency, leading to excessive daytime sleepiness. PLMD alone is thought to be rare as PLMS are typically associated with RLS, RBD, or narcolepsy and represent a distinct diagnosis from PLMD.

Diagnosis

Polysomnography is a recording of multiple physiologic parameters relevant to sleep. The standard full polysomnogram includes:

  • Electroencephalography to differentiate the various stages of sleep and wake,
  • Chin electromyography and electrooculography to assess muscle tone and detect REM sleep,
  • Respiratory effort, airflow, blood oxygen saturation (oximetry), and electrocardiography to assess apneic events,
  • Anterior tibialis electromyogram to assess periodic limb movements during sleep, and
  • Video recording to detect any unusual behavior.

This review addresses polysomnography for non‒respiratory sleep disorders, which include the hypersomnias (e.g., narcolepsy), parasomnias, and movement disorders (e.g., RLS, PLMD).

Refer to policy #305 – Polysomnography/Respiratory Sleep Disorders Testing.

Policy:

Polysomnography and a multiple sleep latency test performed on the day after the polysomnography may be considered medically necessary for coverage in the evaluation of suspected narcolepsy or idiopathic hypersomnia.

Polysomnography may be considered medically necessary in the evaluation of patients with parasomnias when there is a history of sleep related injurious or potentially injurious disruptive behaviors.

Polysomnography may be considered medically necessary in the evaluation of patients with the following:

  • Organic impotence
  • Sleep related epilepsy that does not respond to conventional therapy
  • Paroxysmal arousal or other sleep disturbances thought to be seizure related

Polysomnography may be considered medically necessary with a diagnosis of periodic limb movement disorder when there is:

  • A complaint of repetitive limb movement during sleep by the patient or an observer; AND
  • No other concurrent sleep disorder; AND
  • At least one of the following is present:
    • Frequent awakenings; OR
    • Fragmented sleep; OR
    • Difficulty maintaining sleep; OR
    • Excessive daytime sleepiness

Polysomnography for the diagnosis of periodic limb movement disorder is considered not medically necessary and investigational when there is concurrent untreated obstructive sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, or REM sleep behavior disorder.

Diagnostic sleep testing for the following conditions is considered not medically necessary as they can be diagnosed through more appropriate means. These conditions are, including but not limited to, the following:

  1. Bruxism;
  2. Drug dependency;
  3. Enuresis;
  4. Hypersomnia, without other signs/symptoms of OSA;
  5. Insomnia;
  6. Night terrors or dream anxiety attacks;
  7. Nocturnal myoclonus;
  8. Routine diagnosis of restless leg syndrome, periodic limb movements;
  9. Shift work and schedule disturbances;
  10. Somnambulism;
  11. Migraine headaches;
  12. Snoring without other signs/symptoms of OSA;
  13. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
  14. Asthma;
  15. Neuromuscular disease;
  16. Depression;
  17. Determining risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS);
  18. Circadian rhythm-sleep disorders.

Sleep studies performed outside of a health care facility, for non-respiratory related sleep disorders (i.e., home sleep studies, whether supervised, attended, or not) are non-covered.

Policy Guidelines

The physician performing, and interpreting a polysomnogram must meet one of the following:

  • be a diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM)

AND

  • Board Certified Pulmonologist or a Board Certified Neurologist

OR

  • has a Sleep Certification issued by ONE of the following Boards:
    • American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM),
    • American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM),
    • American Board of Pediatrics (ABP),
    • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN),
    • American Board of Otolaryngology (ABOTO),
    • American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry (AOBNP),
    • American Osteopathic Board of Family Medicine, (AOBFP)
    • American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine, (AOBIM)
    • American Osteopathic Board of Ophthalmology and Otorhinolaryngology (AOBOO),

OR

  • be an active staff member of an accredited sleep center or laboratory. The sleep facility accreditation must be from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), inpatient or outpatient, Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC), or the Joint Commission (formerly the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) accreditation for Ambulatory care sleep centers.

All centers billing sleep studies must maintain proper certification/ accreditation documentation as defined above, which include: Accreditation of sleep centers to include—AASM, ACHC, or Joint Commission.

The medical professional who is performing, evaluating, and interpreting a polysomnogram must have performed a thorough review of the patient’s history and physical prior to any polysomnography or sleep disorders testing being performed. The evaluation should include a thorough sleep history and a physical examination that includes the respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurological systems (AASM Practice Standard 4.1.1).

Key Points:

The most recent literature update was performed through April 1, 2019.

 

This review was informed by evidence examined by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).

Evidence reviews assess whether a medical test is clinically useful. A useful test provides information to make a clinical management decision that improves the net health outcome. That is, the balance of benefits and harms is better when the test is used to manage the condition than when another test or no test is used to manage the condition.

The first step in assessing a medical test is to formulate the clinical context and purpose of the test. The test must be technically reliable, clinically valid, and clinically useful for that purpose. Evidence reviews assess the evidence on whether a test is clinically valid and clinically useful. Technical reliability is outside the scope of these reviews, and credible information on technical reliability is available from other sources.

In 2005, leaders from the American Thoracic Society (ATS), the The three societies reaffirm the essential role of all specialties that have been key participants in the development of sleep medicine, including pulmonology, neurology, psychiatry, otolaryngology, pediatrics, and internal medicine. The Sleep Medicine Certification Program, developed by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP), and the American Board of Otolaryngology (ABOto) for diplomates in internal medicine, family medicine, psychiatry and neurology, pediatrics, and otolaryngology is designed to recognize excellence among physicians who are specialists in the care of patients with sleep problems and specific sleep disorders.American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) met to address means by which the 3 societies could work together to enhance patient care with respect to the practice of sleep medicine.

There are 3 pathways that qualify physicians to sit for the new examination: 1) certification by one of the primary sponsoring boards and the current American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM); 2) certification by one of the primary sponsoring boards and completion of training in a one-year sleep medicine fellowship program, not overlapping with any other residency or fellowship; and 3) clinical practice experience: this clinical practice experience pathway consists of a 5-year "grandfathering" period open to physicians who are board certified in one of the sponsoring specialty boards and who can attest that he or she has the equivalent of 1 year of clinical practice experience in sleep medicine during the prior 5 years. This experience could, for example, be gained by an individual practitioner who has devoted one third of his or her practice to sleep medicine over 3 years, or by someone who spent 25% of their practice in the field over the past 4 years. Physicians in the clinical practice pathway will also have to attest to a specified minimum number of patients seen and polysomnograms and multiple sleep latency tests read. At the end of this initial 5-year period, the only route to board eligibility will be through an accredited fellowship training program. This creates a one-time, unprecedented opportunity for pulmonologists, neurologists, psychiatrists, and other physicians already working in the field to sit for the board examination.

Hypersomnias, Parasomnias and Sleep-Related Movement

Hypersomnia

Clinical Context and Therapy Purpose

The purpose of polysomnography (PSG) is to provide a diagnostic option that is an alternative to or an improvement on existing tests in patients with suspected hypersomnia.

The question addressed in this evidence review: Does the use of PSG to evaluate individuals with hypersomnias improve the net health outcome?

Patients

The relevant population of interest are individuals with suspected hypersomnia.

Interventions

The test being considered is PSG. PSG records multiple physiologic parameters relevant to sleep. Video recording may also be performed during PSG to assess parasomnias such as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder (RBD). Patients with suspected hypersomnia are managed by neurologists, sleep disorder specialists, and primary care providers in an outpatient clinical setting.

Comparators

Comparators of interest include clinical diagnosis alone.

Outcomes

The general outcomes of interest are test accuracy, symptoms, functional outcomes, and quality of life (QOL). The classic symptoms include hypersomnolence, cataplexy, sleep paralysis, and hypnagogic (onset of sleep) hallucinations as well as related findings on PSG.

Study Selection Criteria

Below are selection criteria for studies to assess whether a test is clinically valid.

  1. The study population represents the population of interest. Eligibility and selection are described.
  2. The test is compared with a credible reference standard.
  3. If the test is intended to replace or be an adjunct to an existing test; it should also be compared with that test.
  4. Studies should report sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values. Studies that completely report true- and false-positive results are ideal. Studies reporting other measures (e.g., receiver operating characteristic, area under receiver operating characteristic, c-statistic, likelihood ratios) may be included but are less informative.
  5. Studies should also report reclassification of diagnostic or risk category.

Technically Reliable

Assessment of technical reliability focuses on specific tests and operators and requires a review of unpublished and often proprietary information. Review of specific tests, operators, and unpublished data are outside the scope of this evidence review and alternative sources exist. This evidence review focuses on the clinical validity and clinical utility.

Clinically Valid

A test must detect the presence or absence of a condition, the risk of developing a condition in the future, or treatment response (beneficial or adverse).

Evidence reviewed by Chesson et al (1997) for AASM included data on 1602 patients, of whom 176 patients had narcolepsy, and 1426 had other sleep disorders. However, 7% of obstructive sleep apnea patients and 5% of other sleep disorders patients had two sleep-onset rapid eye movements on a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT), leading to a low predictive value for narcolepsy. No data were found that validated the maintenance of wakefulness test (which measures a patient’s ability to stay awake in a quiet sleep-inducing environment), limited or partial PSG, portable recording, isolated MSLT, or separately performed PSG and MSLT as an alternative to the criterion standard of nocturnal PSG with an MSLT on the day following the diagnosis of narcolepsy. An evidence review by Kushida et al (2005), also for AASM, found that the presence of 2 or more early sleep-onset latency episodes was associated with a sensitivity of 78% and specificity of 93% for the diagnosis of narcolepsy.

Clinically Useful

A test is clinically useful if the use of the results informs management decisions that improve the net health outcome of care. The net health outcome can be improved if patients receive correct therapy, or more effective therapy, or avoid unnecessary therapy, or avoid unnecessary testing.

Based on the evidence reviewed, the updated AASM (2005) guidelines indicated that PSG should be used to rule out other potential causes of sleepiness followed by an MSLT to confirm the clinical impression of narcolepsy. These tests assume greater significance if cataplexy is lacking. In the absence of cataplexy and when there are one or more of the other symptoms, the laboratory criteria are required to establish the diagnosis of narcolepsy.

Section Summary: Hypersomnia

Evidence from a systematic review has indicated that, in patients who are suspected of having hypersomnia, nocturnal PSG should be used to rule out other sleep disorders that may cause daytime sleepiness. After excluding other sleep disorders with nocturnal PSG or a portable sleep study, short sleep latency in a MSLT has high specificity for the diagnosis of hypersomnia.

Parasomnias

Clinical Context and Test Purpose

The purpose of PSG is to provide a diagnostic option that is an alternative to or an improvement on existing tests in patients with typical or benign parasomnia.

The question addressed in this evidence review: Does the use of PSG to evaluate individuals with typical or benign parasomnias improve the net health outcome? The following PICOTS were used to select literature to inform this review.

Patients

The population of interest are individuals with typical or benign parasomnias.

Interventions

The test being considered is PSG. PSG records multiple physiologic parameters relevant to sleep. Video recording may also be performed during PSG to assess parasomnias such as RBD. Patients with typical or benign parasomnia are managed by neurologists, sleep disorder specialists, and primary care providers in an outpatient clinical setting.

Comparators

Comparators of interest include clinical diagnosis alone.

Outcomes

The general outcomes of interest are test accuracy, symptoms, functional outcomes, and QOL as well as related findings on PSG.

Evidence reviewed by Chesson et al (1997) for AASM indicated that typical sleepwalking or sleep terrors, with onset in childhood, a positive family history, occurrence during the first third of the night, amnesia for the events, prompt return to sleep following the events, and relatively benign automatistic behaviors, may be diagnosed on the basis of their historical clinical features. This conclusion was based on very consistent descriptive literature (case series and cohort studies).

Section Summary: Typical or Benign Parasomnia

The evidence on the diagnosis of typical or benign parasomnias includes a systematic review of case series and cohort studies. This evidence has shown that PSG does not provide additional diagnostic information beyond what can be obtained from historical clinical features.

Violent or Potentially Injurious Parasomnia

Clinical Context and Test Purpose

The purpose of PSG is to provide a diagnostic option that is an alternative to or an improvement on existing tests in patients with violent or potentially injurious parasomnia.

The question addressed in this evidence review: Does the use of PSG in patients with violent or potentially injurious parasomnia improve net health outcomes? The following PICOTS were used to select literature to inform this review.

Patients

The population of interest are individuals with violent or potentially injurious parasomnia.

Interventions

The test being considered is PSG. PSG records multiple physiologic parameters relevant to sleep. Video recording may also be performed during PSG to assess parasomnias such as RBD. Patients with violent or potentially injurious parasomnia are managed by psychiatrists, neurologists, sleep disorder specialists, and primary care providers in an outpatient clinical setting.

Comparators

Comparators of interest include clinical diagnosis alone.

Outcomes

The general outcomes of interest are test accuracy, symptoms, functional outcomes, and QOL as well as related findings on PSG.

A test must detect the presence or absence of a condition, the risk of developing a condition in the future, or treatment response (beneficial or adverse).

Clinically Valid

When the events are not typical of benign partial arousals and where other diagnoses, prognoses, and interventions should be considered, PSG was recommended by Chesson et al (1997), and supported by AASM. The evidence reviewed in 1997 included only three articles on disorders of arousal and two articles for REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) that included comparison data for normal controls. Most articles supporting the utility of PSG were limited by biases inherent in uncontrolled clinical reports. The need for PSG was also indicated in a 2011 review of parasomnias that concluded that although RBD is the only parasomnia that requires PSG for diagnosis, PSG may be needed to rule out sleep pathology, such as sleep-disordered breathing or periodic limb movements (PLMs) of sleep that might cause a parasomnia. Evidence reviewed in a 2010 AASM Best Practice Guide indicates that sleep-related injuries are a significant portion of the morbidity in RBD, with prevalence in diagnosed RBD patients ranging from 30% to 81%. Types of injuries ranged from ecchymoses and lacerations to fractures and subdural hematomas, with ecchymoses and lacerations being significantly more common than fractures. In a series of 92 patients, 64% of the bed partners sustained punches, kicks, attempted strangulation, and assault with objects. Minimal diagnostic criteria for RBD requires the presence of REM sleep without atonia, defined as a sustained or intermittent elevation of submental electromyogram (EMG) tone or excessive phasic muscle activity in the limb EMG. Two clinical series with over 100 patients each with various parasomnias found that PSG had an overall diagnostic yield in 65% and 91% of cases. A systematic review on the diagnosis of RBD found that diagnostic accuracy is increased with the combined use of clinical history and video PSG to document the intermittent or sustained loss of muscle atonia or actual observation of RBD occurrences.

Clinically Useful

A test is clinically useful if the use of the results informs management decisions that improve the net health outcome of care. The net health outcome can be improved if patients receive correct therapy, or more effective therapy, or avoid unnecessary therapy, or avoid unnecessary testing.

The need for PSG was also indicated in a review of parasomnias by Goldstein (2011), who concluded that, although RBD is the only parasomnia requiring PSG for diagnosis, PSG may be needed to rule out another sleep pathology, such as sleep-disordered breathing or PLMs of sleep that might cause a parasomnia.

Section Summary: Violent or Potentially Injurious Parasomnia

The evidence on use of PSG for diagnosing violent or potentially injurious parasomnia includes many case series and a systematic review of nonrandomized comparative studies. The large series showed a high diagnostic yield for video PSG in cases with a violent or potentially injurious parasomnia based on clinical history. Clinical utility is based on the importance of excluding other sleep disorders and appropriate interventions in patients who exhibit REM sleep without atonia.

Sleep-Related Movement Disorders

Restless Legs Syndrome

Clinical Context and Test Purpose

The purpose of PSG is to provide a diagnostic option that is an alternative to or an improvement on existing tests in patients with RLS.

The question addressed in this evidence review: Does the use of PSG to evaluate individuals with RLS improve net health outcomes?

The following PICOTS were used to select literature to inform this review.

Patients

The population of interest are individuals with RLS.

Interventions

The test being considered is PSG. PSG records multiple physiologic parameters relevant to sleep. Video recording may also be performed during PSG to assess parasomnias such as RBD. Patients with RLS are managed by sleep disorder specialists, neurologists, and primary care providers in an outpatient clinical setting.

Comparators

Comparators of interest include clinical diagnosis alone.

Outcomes

The general outcomes of interest are test accuracy, symptoms, functional outcomes, and QOL as well as the results of the PSG.

Clinically Valid

A test must detect the presence or absence of a condition, the risk of developing a condition in the future, or treatment response (beneficial or adverse).

The four cardinal diagnostic features of restless legs syndrome (RLS) include:

(1) an urge to move the limbs that is usually associated with paresthesias or dysesthesias,

(2) symptoms that start or become worse with rest,

(3) at least partial relief of symptoms with physical activity, and

(4) worsening of symptoms in the evening or at night.

Evidence reviewed by AASM included a case-control study that found RLS patients when compared with controls, had reduced total sleep time, reduced sleep efficiency, prolonged sleep latencies, decreased slow-wave sleep, and increased nocturnal awakening.

Clinically Useful

A test is clinically useful if the use of the results informs management decisions that improve the net health outcome of care. The net health outcome can be improved if patients receive correct therapy, or more effective therapy, or avoid unnecessary therapy, or avoid unnecessary testing.

Because the principal symptoms of RLS occur during wake, RLS does not require PSG for diagnosis, except where uncertainty exists in the diagnosis. RLS frequently also has a primary motor symptom that is characterized by the occurrence of periodic limb movement during sleep. Periodic limb movement occur in 80% to 90% of patients who have RLS and support the diagnosis of RLS.

Section Summary: Restless Legs Syndrome

A case-control study has shown that RLS impairs PSG measures of sleep; however, the principle symptoms of RLS occur during wake and, therefore, the disorder does not require PSG for diagnosis.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

Clinical Context and Test Purpose

The purpose of PSG is to provide a diagnostic option that is an alternative to or an improvement on existing tests in patients with PLMD.

The question addressed in this evidence review: Does the use of PSG to evaluate patients with PLNMD improve net health outcomes?

The following PICOTS were used to select literature to inform this review.

Patients

The population of interest are individuals with PLMD.

Interventions

The test being considered is PSG.

PSG records multiple physiologic parameters relevant to sleep. Video recording may also be performed during PSG to assess parasomnias such as RBD. Patients with PLMD are managed by neurologists and primary care providers in an outpatient clinical setting.

Comparators

Comparators of interest include clinical diagnosis alone.

Outcomes

The general outcomes of interest are test accuracy, symptoms, functional outcomes, and QOL as well as results of PSG.

PLMD can be diagnosed in the following cases: during PSG; during a subjective perception of poor sleep in the absence of RLS; or during a sleep-related breathing disorder.

The evidence reviewed by Chesson et al (1997) for AASM suggested difficulty in diagnosing PLMD without PSG. In a series of 123 patients evaluated for chronic insomnia, a PLMD diagnosis was confirmed in 5 patients and discovered with PSG in another 10 patients. The PLMD scale from a sleep questionnaire had low sensitivity and specificity. Actigraphy, evoked potentials, and blink reflexes have been found to have little diagnostic specificity or utility. PSG-based diagnosis of PLMD correlated best with frequent awakening at night. In a series of 1171 patients who had PSG at 1 sleep disorders center, 67 (6%) patients had PLMD as the primary and sole sleep diagnosis. The mean sleep efficiency was 53%, and daytime sleepiness was reported by 60% of the cohort. The PLMD patients reported disturbed sleep during a mean of four nights per week for a mean of seven years.

Section Summary: Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

The evidence for the use of PSG for diagnosing PLMD includes a systematic review that concluded the diagnosis of PLMD is difficult without PSG. The review found low diagnostic accuracy of a sleep questionnaire or actigraphy, while a PSG-based diagnosis of PLMD correlated best with awakening at night.

Summary of Evidence

Hypersomnia

For individuals who have suspected hypersomnia who receive PSG, the evidence includes a systematic review on diagnostic accuracy. The relevant outcomes are test accuracy, symptoms, functional outcomes, and QOL. The evidence has suggested that PSG followed by the MSLT is associated with moderate sensitivity and high specificity in support of the diagnosis of narcolepsy. The evidence is sufficient to determine that the technology results in a meaningful improvement in the net health outcome.

Parasomnias

For individuals who have typical or benign parasomnia who receive PSG, the evidence includes systematic reviews of studies on diagnostic accuracy and controlled cohort studies. The relevant outcomes are test accuracy, symptoms, functional outcomes, and QOL. The evidence has suggested that typical and benign parasomnias (e.g., sleepwalking, sleep terrors) may be diagnosed on the basis of their clinical features and do not require PSG. The evidence is sufficient to determine that the technology is unlikely to improve the net health outcome.

For individuals who have violent or potentially injurious parasomnia who receive PSG, the evidence includes systematic reviews of studies on diagnostic accuracy and controlled cohort studies. The relevant outcomes are test accuracy, symptoms, functional outcomes, and QOL. For the diagnosis of RBD, the combined use of clinical history and PSG to document the loss of muscle atonia during REM sleep increases diagnostic accuracy and is considered the criterion standard for diagnosis. Diagnostic accuracy is increased with video recording during PSG to assess parasomnias such as RBD. The evidence is sufficient to determine that the technology results in a meaningful improvement in the net health outcome.

Sleep-Related Movement Disorders

For individuals who have RLS who receive PSG, the evidence includes systematic reviews of studies on diagnostic accuracy and controlled cohort studies. The relevant outcomes are test accuracy, symptoms, functional outcomes, and QOL. RLS does not require PSG because the syndrome is a sensorimotor disorder, the symptoms of which occur predominantly when awake; therefore, PSG results are generally not useful. The evidence is sufficient to determine that the technology is unlikely to improve the net health outcome.

For individuals who have PLMD who receive PSG, the evidence includes a systematic review. The relevant outcomes are test accuracy, symptoms, functional outcomes, and QOL. PSG with electromyography of the anterior tibialis is the only method available to diagnose PLMD, but this sleep-related movement disorder is rare and should only be evaluated using PSG in the absence of symptoms of other disorders. The evidence is sufficient to determine that the technology results in a meaningful improvement in the net health outcome.

Practice Guidelines and Position Statements

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM; 2005) published practice parameters for polysomnography (PSG) and related procedures. AASM made the following recommendations on the use of PSG for nonrespiratory indications (see Table 1).

Table 1. Practice Parameters on PSG for Nonrespiratory Indications

Recommendation

Grade

Polysomnography and a multiple sleep latency test performed on the day after the polysomnographic evaluation are routinely indicated in the evaluation of suspected narcolepsy

Standard

Common, uncomplicated, noninjurious parasomnias, such as typical disorders of arousal, nightmares, enuresis, sleeptalking, and bruxism, can usually be diagnosed by clinical evaluation alone

Standard

Polysomnography is not routinely indicated in cases of typical, uncomplicated, and noninjurious parasomnias when the diagnosis is clearly delineated

Option

A clinical history, neurologic examination, and a routine EEG obtained while the patients is awake and asleep are often sufficient to establish the diagnosis and permit the appropriate treatment of a sleep-related seizure disorder. The need for a routine EEG should be based on clinical judgment and the likelihood that the patient has a sleep-related seizure disorder.

Option

Polysomnography is not routinely indicated for patients with a seizure disorder who have no specific complaints consistent with a sleep disorder

Option

Polysomnography is indicated when evaluating patients with sleep behaviors suggestive of parasomnias that are unusual or atypical because of the patient’s age at onset; the time, duration or frequency of occurrence of the behavior; or the specifics of the particular motor patterns in question

Guideline

Polysomnography … is indicated in evaluating sleep-related behaviors that are violent or otherwise potentially injurious to the patient or others

Option

Polysomnography may be indicated in situations with forensic considerations (e.g., if onset follows trauma or if the events themselves have been associated with personal injury)

Option

Polysomnography may be indicated when the presumed parasomnia or sleep-related seizure disorder does not respond to conventional therapy

Option

Polysomnography is indicated when a diagnosis of periodic limb movement disorder is considered because of complaints by the patient or an observer of repetitive limb movement during sleep and frequent awakenings, fragmented sleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, or excessive daytime sleepiness

Standard

Intra-individual night-to-night variability exists in patients with periodic limb movement sleep disorder, and a single study might not be adequate to establish this diagnosis

Option

Polysomnography is not routinely indicated to diagnose or treat restless legs syndrome, except where uncertainty exists in the diagnosis

Standard

Polysomnography is not routinely indicated for the diagnosis of circadian rhythm sleep disorders

Standard

EEG: electroencephalography.

The AASM (2017) updated its practice parameters on PSG. The update made few recommendation changes to this review. For narcolepsy, the guidelines note that a clinical history, sleep diaries, PSG, and a multiple sleep latency test are key items in the evaluation of the disorder.

The AASM (2012) published practice parameters on nonrespiratory indications for PSG and multiple sleep latency testing in children. Table 2 lists recommendations for PSG and multiple sleep latency testing.

Table 2. Practice Parameters on PSG for Nonrespiratory Indications in Children

Recommendation

Grade

PSG is indicated for children suspected of having PLMD for diagnosing PLMD

Standard

The MSLT, preceded by nocturnal PSG, is indicated in children as part of the evaluation for suspected narcolepsy

Standard

Children with frequent NREM parasomnias, epilepsy, or nocturnal enuresis should be clinically screened for the presence of comorbid sleep disorders, and polysomnography should be performed if there is a suspicion for sleep-disordered breathing or periodic limb movement disorder

Guideline

The MSLT, preceded by nocturnal PSG, is indicated in children suspected of having hypersomnia from causes other than narcolepsy to assess excessive sleepiness and to aid in differentiation from narcolepsy

Option

The polysomnogram using an expanded EEG montage is indicated in children to confirm the diagnosis of an atypical or potentially injurious parasomnia or differentiate a parasomnia from sleep-related epilepsy when the initial clinical evaluation and standard EEG are inconclusive

Option

Polysomnography is indicated in children suspected of having RLS who require supportive data for diagnosing RLS

Option

Polysomnography is not routinely indicated for evaluation of children with sleep-related bruxism

Standard

EEG: electroencephalography; MSLT: multiple sleep latency test; NREM: non‒rapid eye movement; PLMD: periodic limb movement disorder; PSG: polysomnography; RLS: restless legs syndrome.

The AASM (2012) issued a practice parameter on the treatment of restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder in adults. The practice parameter noted different treatment efficacy measures are used to assess restless legs syndrome due to its multifaceted nature. Measures included a number of subjective scales; the only objective measurements were sleep-related parameters by PSG or actigraphy.

The AASM (2010) issued best practice guide on the treatment of nightmare disorders in adults (classified as a parasomnia). The AASM stated that overnight PSG is not routinely used to assess nightmare disorder but may be used to exclude other parasomnias or sleep-disordered breathing. PSG may underestimate the incidence and frequency of posttraumatic stress disorder-associated nightmares.

The AASM (2010) issued best practice guide on the treatment of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder (RBD). Minimal diagnostic criteria for RBD included:

"A) Presence of R[EM] sleep without atonia, defined as sustained or intermittent elevation of submental EMG [electromyographic] tone or excessive phasic muscle activity in the limb EMG [electromyography] …;

B) At least 1 of the following:

1)Sleep-related injurious or potentially injurious disruptive behaviors by history;

2)Abnormal R[EM] behaviors documented on polysomnogram (PSG);

C) Absence of epileptiform activity during R[EM] sleep unless RBD can be clearly distinguished from any concurrent R[EM] sleep-related seizure disorder;

D) Sleep disturbance not better explained by another sleep disorder, medical or neurological disorder, mental disorder, medication use, or substance use disorder."

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendations

Not applicable.

Key Words:

Rapid Eye Movement, REM, RBD, PSG, periodic limb movement disorder, PLMD, multiple sleep latency test, MSLT, restless leg syndrome, RLS

Approved by Governing Bodies:

A large number of polysomnography devices have been approved since 1986.

Benefit Application:

Coverage is subject to member’s specific benefits. Group specific policy will supersede this policy when applicable.

ITS: Home Policy provisions apply.

FEP: Special benefit consideration may apply. Refer to member’s benefit plan.

Current Coding:

CPT Codes:

95782

Polysomnography; younger than 6 years, sleep staging with 4 or more additional parameters of sleep, attended by a technologist

95783

Polysomnography; younger than 6 years, sleep staging with 4 or more additional parameters of sleep, with initiation of continuous positive airway pressure therapy or bilevel ventilation, attended by a technologist.

95800

Sleep study, unattended, simultaneous recording; heart rate, oxygen saturation, respiratory analysis (e.g., by airflow or peripheral arterial tone), and sleep time)

95801

Sleep study, unattended, simultaneous recording; minimum of heart rate, oxygen saturation, and respiratory analysis (e.g., by airflow or peripheral arterial tone)

95803

Actigraphy testing, recording, analysis, interpretation, and report (minimum of 72 hours to 14 consecutive days of recording)

95805

Multiple sleep latency or maintenance of wakefulness testing, recording, analysis and interpretation of physiological measurements of sleep during multiple trials to assess sleepiness

95806

Sleep study, unattended, simultaneous recording of, heart rate, oxygen saturation, respiratory airflow, and respiratory effort (e.g., thoracoabdominal movement)

95807

Sleep study, simultaneous recording of ventilation, respiratory effort, ECG or heart rate, and oxygen saturation, attended by a technologist

95808

Polysomnography; any age, sleep staging with 1-3 additional parameters of sleep, attended by a technologist

95810

Polysomnography; age 6 years or older, sleep staging with 4 or more additional parameters of sleep, attended by a technologist.

95811

Polysomnography; age 6 years or older, sleep staging with 4 or more additional parameters of sleep, with initiation of continuous positive airway pressure therapy or bilevel ventilation, attended by a technologist.

References:

  1. Aurora RN, Kristo DA, Bista SR, et al. The Treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder in Adults-an update for 2012: Practice Parameters with an Evidence-based Systematic Review and Meta-analyses. SLEEP 2012; 35(8):1039-1062. www.aasmnet.org/Resources/PracticeParameters/TreatmentRLS.pdf.

  2. Aurora RN, Zak RS, Auerbach SH, et al. Best Practice Guide for the Treatment of Nightmare Disorder in Adults. J Clin Sleep Med 2010; 6(4):389-401. www.aasmnet.org/Resources/bestpracticeguides/NightmareDisorder.pdf.

  3. Aurora RN, Zak RS, Maganti RK, et al. Best practice guide for the treatment of REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) J Clin Sleep Med 2010; 6(1):85-95. www.aasmnet.org/Resources/bestpracticeguides/PP_RBD.pdf.

  4. Aurora RN, Lamm CI, Zak R, et al. Practice Parameters for the Non-Respiratory Indications for Polysomnography and Multiple Sleep Latency Testing in Children. SLEEP 2012; 35(11):1467-1473. www.aasmnet.org/resources/practiceparameters/pediatricpolysomnographymslt.pdf.

  5. Chesson AL, Jr., Ferber RA, Fry JM, et al. The indications for polysomnography and related procedures. Sleep. Jun 1997; 20(6):423-487.

  6. Goldstein CA. Parasomnias. Dis Mon. Jul 2011; 57(7):364-388.

  7. Kapur VK, Auckley DH, Chowdhuri S, et al. Clinical practice guideline for diagnostic testing for adult obstructive sleep apnea: an American Academy of Sleep Medicine Clinical Practice Guideline. J Clin Sleep Med. Mar 15 2017;13(3):479-504.

  8. Kushida CA, Littner MR, Morgenthaler T, et al. Practice parameters for the indications for polysomnography and related procedures: an update for 2005. Sleep 28(4):499-521. www.aasmnet.org/practiceparameters.aspx?cid=120.

  9. Neikrug AB, Ancoli-Israel S. Diagnostic tools for REM sleep behavior disorder. Sleep Med Rev. Oct 2012; 16(5):415-429.

  10. Schutte-Rodin S, Broch L, Buysse D, et al. Clinical Guideline for the Evaluation and Management of Chronic Insomnia in Adults. J Clin Sleep Med 2008; 4(5): 487

Policy History:

Medical Policy Panel, August 2015

Medical Policy Group, October 2016 (5): Newly adopted policy. Previously addressed in policy #305 Polysomnography/Sleep Disorders Testing. No change in policy intent.

Medical Policy Administration Committee, October 2016

Available for comment October 14 through November 28, 2016

Medical Policy Group, November 2016 (6): Updates to credentialing under Policy Guidelines and references.

Medical Policy Panel, November 2016

Medical Policy Group, December 2016 (6): Updates to Key Points, removed HST codes from coding section and Summary of Evidence. No change to policy intent.

Medical Policy Panel, September 2017

Medical Policy Group, September 2017 (6): Updates to Key Points.

Medical Policy Panel, June 2018

Medical Policy Group, June 2018 (6): Updates to Key Points and References.

Medical Policy Panel, June 2019

Medical Policy Group, July 2019 (6): Updates to Key Points. No change to policy statement.

This medical policy is not an authorization, certification, explanation of benefits, or a contract. Eligibility and benefits are determined on a case-by-case basis according to the terms of the member’s plan in effect as of the date services are rendered. All medical policies are based on (i) research of current medical literature and (ii) review of common medical practices in the treatment and diagnosis of disease as of the date hereof. Physicians and other providers are solely responsible for all aspects of medical care and treatment, including the type, quality, and levels of care and treatment.

This policy is intended to be used for adjudication of claims (including pre-admission certification, pre-determinations, and pre-procedure review) in Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s administration of plan contracts.

The plan does not approve or deny procedures, services, testing, or equipment for our members. Our decisions concern coverage only. The decision of whether or not to have a certain test, treatment or procedure is one made between the physician and his/her patient. The plan administers benefits based on the member’s contract and corporate medical policies. Physicians should always exercise their best medical judgment in providing the care they feel is most appropriate for their patients. Needed care should not be delayed or refused because of a coverage determination.

As a general rule, benefits are payable under health plans only in cases of medical necessity and only if services or supplies are not investigational, provided the customer group contracts have such coverage.

The following Association Technology Evaluation Criteria must be met for a service/supply to be considered for coverage:

1. The technology must have final approval from the appropriate government regulatory bodies;

2. The scientific evidence must permit conclusions concerning the effect of the technology on health outcomes;

3. The technology must improve the net health outcome;

4. The technology must be as beneficial as any established alternatives;

5. The improvement must be attainable outside the investigational setting.

Medical Necessity means that health care services (e.g., procedures, treatments, supplies, devices, equipment, facilities or drugs) that a physician, exercising prudent clinical judgment, would provide to a patient for the purpose of preventing, evaluating, diagnosing or treating an illness, injury or disease or its symptoms, and that are:

1. In accordance with generally accepted standards of medical practice; and

2. Clinically appropriate in terms of type, frequency, extent, site and duration and considered effective for the patient’s illness, injury or disease; and

3. Not primarily for the convenience of the patient, physician or other health care provider; and

4. Not more costly than an alternative service or sequence of services at least as likely to produce equivalent therapeutic or diagnostic results as to the diagnosis or treatment of that patient’s illness, injury or disease.