Diagnostic accuracy of level IV portable sleep monitors versus polysomnography for pediatric obstructive sleep apnea: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Sleep Med. 2021 Nov:87:127-137. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2021.08.029. Epub 2021 Sep 3.


Background: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the common sleep-related breathing disorders in children. However, polysomnography (PSG) is an expensive and labor-intensive diagnostic modality that may not always be feasible, especially in low-income countries or in non-tertiary hospitals. Portable monitors (PMs), a new approach for OSA diagnosis, have become more widely used with lower intolerance and cost in recent years. We aimed to analyze the diagnostic performance of Level IV PMs compared with PSG for the diagnosis of pediatric OSA.

Methods: PubMed and Embase databases were searched for studies published in English up to December 31, 2020 evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of Level IV PMs against the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) measured using overnight in-laboratory polysomnography (PSG) in children and adolescents. A random-effects bivariate model was used to estimate the summary sensitivity and specificity of oximetry-based statistical classifiers. A qualitative evaluation of studies was performed using the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (QUADAS-2) rating.

Results: In total, 20 studies involving 7062 participants were included in this systematic review. Among these articles, seven studies (oximetry based on new mathematical classifiers) involving 5098 individuals satisfied the criteria for quantitative synthesis. Compared with AHI evaluation measured by PSG, different PM systems achieved diagnostic accuracy with variable degrees of success. A meta-analysis showed a pooled sensitivity of 74% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 66-80%) and pooled specificity of 90% (95% CI: 85-94%). The area under the summary receiver operating characteristic (SROC) curve was 0.89 (95% CI: 0.86-0.92).

Conclusion: This study showed the potential of Level IV PMs for screening pediatric OSA patients. Oximetry based on new mathematical classifiers may provide a simple and effective alternative to PSG in the diagnosis of pediatric OSA especially in the context of appropriate clinical evaluation.

Keywords: Children; Level IV portable Monitors; Meta-analysis; Obstructive sleep apnea; Oximetry-based statistical classifier.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Oximetry
  • Polysomnography
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive* / diagnosis