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Eur Respir J. 2004 Dec;24(6):987-93.

Night-to-night variation of the oxygen desaturation index in sleep apnoea syndrome.

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  • 1Centre of Sleep Medicine, Dept of Cardiology and Pulmonology, Charit√©--Universit√§tsmedizin Berlin, Campus Mitte, Humboldt University, Luisenstr. 13a, D-10117 Berlin, Germany.


The current study investigated the night-to-night variability and diagnostic accuracy of the oxygen desaturation index (ODI), as measured by ambulatory monitoring, in the diagnosis of mild and moderate obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea syndrome. To assess the variability of the ODI, 35 patients were monitored at home during 7 consecutive nights by means of a portable recording device, the MESAM-IV. The ODI variability factor and the influence of age, body mass index (BMI), alcohol, and body position were assessed. Furthermore, the diagnostic accuracy of the MESAM-IV was measured by comparison with polysomnographical outcomes in 18 patients. During home recording, the median ODI was 10.9 (interquartile range: 5.8-16.1) across the patients. Although the reliability of the ODI was adequate, the probability of placing the patient in the wrong severity category (ODI < or =15 or ODI >15) when only one single recording was taken is 14.4%. ODI variability was not significantly influenced by age, BMI, time spent in a supine position, or mild dosages of alcohol. A good correlation was found between the apnoea-hypopnoea index and the ODI. In conclusion, the findings suggest that the diagnostic accuracy of the MESAM-IV is strong, since the oxygen desaturation index is correlated with the apnoea-hypopnoea index. In most obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea syndrome patients, oxygen desaturation index variability is rather small, and screening could be reliably based on single 1-night recordings.

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