Narcolepsy: Tests and Diagnosis

What tests are used to diagnose narcolepsy?

After a complete history and physical exam by a sleep specialist, there are diagnostic tests that help to confirm that a child has narcolepsy. One test is a special sleep study called a Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT).

This is a test of how easily a child goes to sleep during the day, and how much dreaming the child does during the day, which are measured by the amount of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. The test is like a sleep study, but is done during one day over a series of naps instead of at night.

How do providers at Children’s Hospital Colorado make a diagnosis?

Children are seen by specialists in the sleep center who are trained to diagnose narcolepsy with a complete history, physical exam and special tests ordered in the clinic. These tests might include blood tests to identify specific genes or infections, and sleep studies.