Background: Polysomnography (PSG) is currently the standard diagnostic procedure for sleep apnoea. This study evaluates the diagnostic accuracy of a portable recording device, ApneaLink (AL; ResMed, Poway, CA, USA) for detection of sleep apnoea in comparisons against PSG.
Methods: The AL device is a three-channel screening tool that measures airflow through a nasal pressure transducer, oximetry and pulse, providing an apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI) based on recording time. Nocturnal PSG (Alice 4; Healthdyne, Atlanta, GA, USA), with airflow measured by a nasal pressure transducer (ProTech PTAF2; ProTech, Woodinville, WA, USA) and AL recordings were carried out simultaneously in consecutive patients with suspected obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS). The PSG recordings were analysed manually by a blinded investigator. The oxygen desaturation index of AL was also compared against the AHI based on PSG.
Results: Fifty consecutive subjects with symptoms of OSAS were recruited with mean age of 50 years and body mass index of 27.9 kg/m2. The AHI obtained by the AL device correlated closely to that obtained by PSG (Pearson correlation, r= 0.978, P < 0.001), whereas the correlation between PSG AHI and oxygen desaturation index by AL was also strong (r= 0.895, P < 0.001). Comparison of AHI based on the AL against the PSG demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity at AHI > or =10/h (sensitivity 0.977 and specificity 1.0) and at AHI > or =20/h (sensitivity 0.969 and specificity 1.0).
Conclusion: The AL portable monitoring device is highly sensitive and specific in quantifying the apnoea-hypopnoea index when compared against hospital based polysomnography in patients with suspected OSAS. The simple device may be useful for screening and diagnostic purpose when access to PSG is limited.