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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 21 (2014), Issue 1, Pages 31-35
Original Article

The Utility of a Portable Sleep Monitor to Diagnose Sleep-Disordered Breathing in a Pediatric Population

Colin Massicotte,1 Suhail Al-Saleh,1,2 Manisha Witmans,3 and Indra Narang1,2

1Division of Respiratory Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children, Canada
2University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
3University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Copyright © 2014 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: Central and/or obstructive sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in children represents a spectrum of abnormal breathing during sleep. SDB is diagnosed using the gold standard, overnight polysomnography (PSG). The limited availability and access to PSG prevents its widespread use, resulting in significant delays in diagnosis and treatment of SDB. As such, portable sleep monitors are urgently needed.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the utility of a commercially available portable sleep study monitor (PSS-AL) (ApneaLink, ResMed, USA) to diagnose SDB in children.

METHODS: Children referred to a pediatric sleep facility were simultaneously monitored using the PSS-AL monitor and overnight PSG. The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) was calculated using the manual and autoscoring function of the PSS-AL, and PSG. Sensitivity and specificity were compared with the manually scored PSS-AL and PSG. Pearson correlations and Bland-Altman plots were constructed.

RESULTS: Thirty-five children (13 female) completed the study. The median age was 11.0 years and the median body mass index z-score was 0.67 (range −2.3 to 3.8). SDB was diagnosed in 17 of 35 (49%) subjects using PSG. The AHI obtained by manually scored PSS-AL strongly correlated with the AHI obtained using PSG (r=0.89; P<0.001). Using the manually scored PSS-AL, a cut-off of AHI of >5 events/h had a sensitivity of 94% and a specificity of 61% to detect any SDB diagnosed by PSG.

CONCLUSIONS: Although PSG is still recommended for the diagnosis of SDB, the ApneaLink sleep monitor has a role for triaging children referred for evaluation of SDB, but has limited ability to determine the nature of the SDB.