Interpretation of sleep studies for patients with sleep-disordered breathing: What the anesthesiologist needs to know

Can J Anaesth. 2018 Jan;65(1):60-75. doi: 10.1007/s12630-017-0988-8. Epub 2017 Oct 30.


There is increased interest in the perioperative management of patients with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB). Anesthesiologists must distill information from clinical reports to make key decisions for optimizing perioperative care. A patient with SDB may present with a sleep study report at the time of surgery. Knowledge of the essential components of such a report can help the anesthesiologist evaluate the patient and optimize the perioperative management. In this narrative review, we describe how level I (i.e., laboratory-based) polysomnography (PSG) data are collected and scored using the recommended scoring guidelines, as well as the basic information and salient features of a typical PSG report relevant to the anesthesiologist. In addition, we briefly review the indications for sleep studies, including the types of laboratory-based studies, as well as the role and limitations of portable monitors (level II-IV studies) and examples of PSG reports in the clinical context.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesiologists / organization & administration
  • Anesthesiology / methods*
  • Humans
  • Perioperative Care / methods*
  • Polysomnography / methods
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology*