Portable monitors in the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea

Chest. 2007 Nov;132(5):1672-7. doi: 10.1378/chest.06-2793.


The use of portable monitors (PM) devices has been demonstrated in a wide variety of investigational settings with varying results. While most devices correlate very well with in-laboratory polysomnography, some still misclassify a significant numbers of patients and have lower sensitivity. In addition, the failure rate of PM devices is higher than that of in-laboratory polysomnography, requiring repeated investigations. Nonetheless, these devices may reduce the waiting time for diagnosis and could potentially decrease costs. Cost-effectiveness studies have yet to demonstrate an advantage to using PM devices, although their employed modeling techniques may not accurately reflect prevailing practices. The majority of third-party payers do not reimburse unattended studies and consider them still to be investigational. Some health maintenance organizations have begun to recognize PM-based studies in their diagnostic algorithms and will cover their cost; others may do so on a case-by-case basis. There continues to be a dearth of evidence to support widespread implementation of PM devices for use within the general population. Larger-scale validation studies in patients with lower pretest probabilities and a wide range of comorbidities are needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / instrumentation*
  • Polysomnography / instrumentation*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis*