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Laryngoscope. 2006 Jun;116(6):859-64.

Laboratory versus portable sleep studies: a meta-analysis.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina 29425, USA.



The objective of this meta-analysis study was to compare the accuracy of home sleep studies with laboratory polysomnography in the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).


Eligible studies included prospective cohort studies of portable and in-laboratory sleep studies performed on the same groups of patients. A comparison of respiratory disturbance index (RDI), mean low oxygen saturation levels, sleep time, rate of inadequate studies, and average cost per examination was made between portable and in-laboratory sleep studies. A total of 18 papers were identified in two independent Medline searches.


RDI values on portable sleep studies were 10% lower on average compared with laboratory studies (odds ratio [OR], 0.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.87-0.92). There was no significant difference in the mean low oxygen saturation on portable versus laboratory studies (OR, 1.0; 95% CI, 0.94-1.10). Recorded sleep time was significantly higher by 13% for laboratory compared with portable studies (OR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.86-0.89), and portable studies were significantly more likely to give a poor recording when compared with laboratory examinations (P = .0001). The cost of home studies ranged from 35% to 88% lower than laboratory studies across a number of countries.


Home sleep studies provide similar diagnostic information to laboratory polysomnograms in the evaluation of sleep-disordered breathing but may underestimate sleep apnea severity. The lower cost of home sleep studies makes it a viable screening tool for patients with suspected OSA; however, these lower costs are partially offset by the higher rate of inadequate examinations.

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