Background: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a major risk factor for perioperative adverse events. However, no screening tool for OSA has been validated in surgical patients. This study was conducted to develop and validate a concise and easy-to-use questionnaire for OSA screening in surgical patients.
Methods: After hospital ethics approval, preoperative patients aged 18 yr or older and without previously diagnosed OSA were recruited. After a factor analysis, reliability check, and pilot study; four yes/no questions were used to develop this screening tool. The four questions were respectively related to snoring, tiredness during daytime, observed apnea, and high blood pressure (STOP). For validation, the score from the STOP questionnaire was evaluated versus the apnea-hypopnea index from monitored polysomnography.
Results: The STOP questionnaire was given to 2,467 patients, 27.5% classified as being at high risk of OSA. Two hundred eleven patients underwent polysomnography, 34 for the pilot test and 177 for validation. In the validation group, the apnea-hypopnea index was 20 +/- 6. The sensitivities of the STOP questionnaire with apnea-hypopnea index greater than 5, greater than 15, and greater than 30 as cutoffs were 65.6, 74.3, and 79.5%, respectively. When incorporating body mass index, age, neck circumference, and gender into the STOP questionnaire, sensitivities were increased to 83.6, 92.9, and 100% with the same apnea-hypopnea index cutoffs.
Conclusions: The STOP questionnaire is a concise and easy-to-use screening tool for OSA. It has been developed and validated in surgical patients at preoperative clinics. Combined with body mass index, age, neck size, and gender, it had a high sensitivity, especially for patients with moderate to severe OSA.