Comparing a combination of validated questionnaires and level III portable monitor with polysomnography to diagnose and exclude sleep apnea

J Clin Sleep Med. 2013 Dec 15;9(12):1259-66. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.3264.


Study objectives: Questionnaires have been validated as screening tools in adult populations at risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Portable monitors (PM) have gained acceptance for confirmation of OSA in some patients with a high pretest probability of the disorder. We evaluated the combined diagnostic utility of 3 validated questionnaires and a Level III PM in the diagnosis and exclusion of OSA, as compared with in-laboratory polysomnography (PSG) derived apnea hypopnea index (AHI).

Methods: Consecutive patients referred to the Sleep Disorders Clinic completed 3 testing components: (1) 3 questionnaires (Berlin, STOP-Bang, and Sleep Apnea Clinical Score [SACS]); (2) Level III at-home PM (MediByte) study; and (3) Level I in-laboratory PSG. The utility of individual questionnaires, the Level III device alone, and the combination of questionnaires and the Level III device were compared with the PSG.

Results: One hundred twenty-eight patients participated in the study (84M, 44F), mean ± SD age 50 ± 12.3years, BMI 31 ± 6.6 kg/m(2). At a PSG threshold AHI = 10, the PM derived respiratory disturbance index (RDI) had a sensitivity and specificity of 79% and 86%, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity for the other screening tools were: Berlin 88%, 25%; STOP-Bang 90%, 25%; SACS 33%, 75%. The sensitivity and specificity at a PSG AHI = 15 were: PM 77%, 95%; Berlin 91%, 28%; STOP-Bang 93%, 28%; SACS 35%, 78%.

Conclusions: Questionnaires alone, possibly given a reliance on sleepiness as a symptom, cannot reliably rule out the presence of OSA. Objective physiological measurement is critical for the diagnosis and exclusion of OSA.

Keywords: Screening tools; home sleep testing; obstructive sleep apnea; portable monitoring; questionnaires.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / instrumentation*
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / methods*
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / statistics & numerical data
  • Ontario
  • Polysomnography / instrumentation*
  • Polysomnography / methods*
  • Polysomnography / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*