Obstructive sleep apnea in general surgery patients: is it more common than we think?

Am J Surg. 2014 Mar;207(3):436-40; discussion 439-40. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2013.09.018. Epub 2013 Dec 24.


Background: To determine the risk of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in preoperative surgical patients.

Methods: Three hundred seventy-one new patients presenting to an outpatient general surgery clinic were prospectively screened for risk of OSA using the STOP-Bang questionnaire. Patients were classified as high risk with a score of >3 on the STOP-Bang questionnaire. Polysomnography results were reviewed when available.

Results: Complete questionnaires were available on 367 (98.9%) patients. Two hundred thirty-seven patients (64.6%) were classified as high risk of OSA on the questionnaire. Polysomnography results available on 49 patients revealed severe OSA in 17 (34.5%), moderate in 8 (16.5%), mild in 14 (28.5%), and no OSA in 10 (20.5%) patients. The positive predictive value and sensitivity of the questionnaire were 76%, and 92% for the STOP-Bang questionnaire, respectively. The sensitivity increased to 100% for severe OSA.

Conclusion: Preoperative screening for OSA should be considered to diagnose patients at risk.

Keywords: Obstructive sleep apnea; Preoperative evaluation; STOP-Bang.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Preoperative Care
  • Risk
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires