PMID: 7939064Sep 13, 1994Paper

Screening for sleep apnea syndrome

Schweizerische Rundschau für Medizin Praxis = Revue suisse de médecine Praxis
P Kehrer, L P Nicod


Sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) consists of nocturnal snoring interrupted by obstructive apnea and of diurnal symptoms like hypersomnolence as a consequence of sleep fragmentation. Cardiovascular morbidity and mortality associated with this syndrome justify early detection and appropriate treatment. Polysomnography is still a frequently used method for early detection; however, several disadvantages like duration, discomfort and expense led to a search for alternatives. Since the beginning of the eighties, oximetry allows recording of nocturnal oxygen saturation of hemoglobin even at home. Nocturnal oximetry reveals O2-desaturation associated with apnea and thus permits often to diagnose or exclude SAS. Diagnosis of SAS is made when at least 20 desaturations per hour with an amplitude of at least 4% are recorded. On the other hand, normal nocturnal oximetry nearly excludes SAS. In those cases where nocturnal oximetry is not diagnostic, polysomnography remains the method of choice. Departing from published work, a model for SAS detection, based mainly on nocturnal oximetry, is proposed.

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