Preoperative identification of sleep apnea risk in elective surgical patients, using the Berlin questionnaire

J Clin Anesth. 2007 Mar;19(2):130-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinane.2006.08.006.


Study objective: To examine the prevalence of risk of sleep apnea in patients undergoing elective surgery by using the Berlin Questionnaire.

Design: Survey instrument.

Settings: Preoperative assessment clinic.

Patients: 305 surgical ASA physical status I, II, III, and IV patients.

Interventions: Patients were screened with the Berlin questionnaire for obstructive sleep apnea. For patients deemed at high risk of sleep apnea by the Berlin questionnaire, a letter was sent to their family physician requesting referral of patient to have an overnight polysomnography test for the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea.

Measurements: The number of patients identified by the Berlin questionnaire as being at high risk of obstructive sleep apnea was identified. The number of patients with a history of obstructive sleep apnea and those newly confirmed by polysomnography were also identified.

Main results: The Berlin questionnaire identified 24% (73/305) of patients as being at high risk of sleep apnea (95% confidence interval, 19%-29%). Thirteen patients were confirmed to have obstructive sleep apnea, resulting in a frequency of 4.2%; 9 patients had a history of obstructive sleep apnea, and 5 patients were identified by polysomnography.

Conclusions: The Berlin questionnaire correctly identified all patients previously diagnosed with sleep apnea as being at high risk.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Elective Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography / methods
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Prevalence
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*