Night-to-night variability of polysomnography in children with suspected obstructive sleep apnea

J Pediatr. 2002 May;140(5):589-94. doi: 10.1067/mpd.2002.123290.


Objectives: To determine whether a single polysomnographic night was a valid measure of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) in children with symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing.

Study design: The night-to-night variability of respiratory and sleep parameters was measured prospectively in 30 snoring children aged 1.6 to 11.3 years (mean +/- SD, 4.1 +/- 2) by using 2 nocturnal polysomnograms performed 7 to 27 days apart (14 +/- 5 days).

Results: The mean of the respiratory variables including apnea index, apnea/hypopnea index, arterial oxygen saturation, and end-tidal partial pressure of carbon dioxide were not significantly different from night to night. Among the sleep parameters, there was no significant night-to-night difference in sleep efficiency, arousal index, percent rapid eye movement, or percent of slow wave sleep. Only the percentage of stage 2 was significantly different between the nights. The polysomnographic clinical diagnosis remained the same on both nights for all children, although the disease severity differed slightly in 2 patients.

Conclusions: There is little clinically significant night-to-night variability in pediatric polysomnography, and no first-night effect. These data suggest that a single polysomnographic night is an adequate measure of the OSAS in children with symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Polysomnography / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Respiratory Mechanics
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Stages
  • Statistics, Nonparametric