High-resolution wrist-worn overnight oximetry has high positive predictive value for obstructive sleep apnea in a sleep study referral population

Ken M. Kunisaki, Oksana A. Bohn, Erin E. Wetherbee, Thomas S. Rector

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Reducing the need for diagnostic sleep studies for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) would reduce direct and opportunity costs while expediting time to treatment for this common and morbid disorder. We sought to determine if an established sleep apnea screening questionnaire (STOP-BANG) and wrist-worn overnight oximetry data could provide high positive predictive value for the presence of OSA. Methods: We conducted a prospective observational study of consecutive unattended sleep study patients at a single facility. Patients were referred for sleep testing after chart review by a sleep physician. We assessed area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve (ROC AUC) and positive predictive value (PPV) of STOP-BANG score and oxygen desaturation index (ODI) for a respiratory disturbance index (RDI) ≥15/h. Results: Among 234 test patients, 65 % had an RDI ≥15/h. STOP-BANG had poor ability to discriminate these patients (ROC AUC 0.62). ODI added significant diagnostic information to the STOP-BANG score, increasing the ROC AUC to 0.86. Having the ODI, the STOP-BANG score no longer contributed significant diagnostic information, and the ODI alone discriminated as well as the combination (ROC AUC 0.86). Forty nine percent had an ODI ≥7/h, which had PPV of 92 % (95 % confidence interval (CI), 86 to 96 %). In the validation sample of 1,196 consecutive patients, ODI ≥ 7/h had a PPV of 97 % (95 % CI, 95 to 97 %). Conclusions: Among patients with a high prevalence of OSA, high ODI is common and its presence has high PPV for OSA. These data suggest that overnight oximetry prior to sleep testing could significantly reduce the number of patients requiring sleep studies, thereby reducing costs and time to treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-587
Number of pages5
JournalSleep and Breathing
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA).

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Oximetry
  • Predictive value of tests
  • Questionnaires
  • Sleep apnea syndromes

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