Laboratory versus portable sleep studies: a meta-analysis

Laryngoscope. 2006 Jun;116(6):859-64. doi: 10.1097/01.mlg.0000214866.32050.2e.


Objective: The objective of this meta-analysis study was to compare the accuracy of home sleep studies with laboratory polysomnography in the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Methods: Eligible studies included prospective cohort studies of portable and in-laboratory sleep studies performed on the same groups of patients. A comparison of respiratory disturbance index (RDI), mean low oxygen saturation levels, sleep time, rate of inadequate studies, and average cost per examination was made between portable and in-laboratory sleep studies. A total of 18 papers were identified in two independent Medline searches.

Results: RDI values on portable sleep studies were 10% lower on average compared with laboratory studies (odds ratio [OR], 0.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.87-0.92). There was no significant difference in the mean low oxygen saturation on portable versus laboratory studies (OR, 1.0; 95% CI, 0.94-1.10). Recorded sleep time was significantly higher by 13% for laboratory compared with portable studies (OR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.86-0.89), and portable studies were significantly more likely to give a poor recording when compared with laboratory examinations (P = .0001). The cost of home studies ranged from 35% to 88% lower than laboratory studies across a number of countries.

Conclusion: Home sleep studies provide similar diagnostic information to laboratory polysomnograms in the evaluation of sleep-disordered breathing but may underestimate sleep apnea severity. The lower cost of home sleep studies makes it a viable screening tool for patients with suspected OSA; however, these lower costs are partially offset by the higher rate of inadequate examinations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Humans
  • Laboratories
  • Oxygen
  • Polysomnography / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology


  • Oxygen