Objective: This is a retrospective study comparing 2007 American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) pediatric scoring criteria and Stanford scoring criteria of pediatric polysomnograms to characterize the impact different scoring systems have upon the diagnosis of sleep disordered breathing in children.
Methods: The diagnostic and post-treatment nocturnal polysomnograms (PSGs) of children (age 2-18 years) consecutively referred to an academic sleep clinic for evaluation of suspected sleep disordered breathing (SDB) for 1 year were independently analyzed by a single researcher using AASM and Stanford scoring criteria in a blinded fashion.
Results: A total of 209 (83 girls) children with suspected SDB underwent clinical evaluation and diagnostic PSG. Analysis of the diagnostic PSGs using the Stanford and AASM criteria classified 207 and 39 studies as abnormal, respectively. The AASM scoring criteria classified 19% of subjects as having obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) while the Stanford criteria diagnosed 99% of the subjects with OSA who were referred for evaluation of suspected sleep disordered breathing. There was a positive correlation between SDB-related clinical symptoms and anatomic risk factors for SDB. Scatter-plot analyses showed that the AASM apnea hypopnea index (AHI) was not only significantly lower compared to the Stanford AHI but also skewed in distribution. Ninety-nine children were restudied with PSG (9 were initially diagnosed with SDB with AASM criteria, whereas all 99 were diagnosed with SDB with Stanford criteria). All 99 children had been treated and had a post-treatment clinical evaluation and post-treatment PSG during the study period. All 99 children evaluated after treatment showed improvement in clinical presentation, Stanford AHI, and oxygen saturation during sleep.
Conclusion: The AASM scoring criteria classified 19% of subjects as having OSA while the Stanford criteria diagnosed 99% of the subjects with OSA who were referred for evaluation of suspected sleep disordered breathing. The primary factor differentiating the AASM and Stanford criteria was the scoring of hypopneas. The AASM definition of hypopnea may be detrimental to the recognition of SDB in children.
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