Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is extremely common and has major health repercussions. Demand for diagnostic investigations is surpassing capacity in several nations. For a cross-sectional study, researchers sought to identify predictors of severe OSA among patients on sleep study waiting lists to properly devote time to exams. The study included 3,646 individuals (30.3% of whom were women) who were sent to a university clinic with probable OSA. Respiratory polygraphy was performed on all patients. An apnea-hypopnea index of ≥30 was used to describe severe OSA. Questionnaires were used to collect information on symptoms (snoring, breathing cessations, daytime drowsiness) and medical history, including past diagnoses of angina, myocardial infarction, stroke, hypertension, depression, or diabetes. Blood pressure was measured using 90 and 140 mmHg criteria to define diastolic and systolic hypertension.
About 15.7% of people had severe OSA. Increasing age, male sex, snoring, breathing cessations, BMI ≥30, diastolic hypertension, self-reported history of hypertension, and self-reported myocardial infarction were all linked with severe OSA in multivariate logistic regression analysis. When a score of 2 was used as the cut-off, a prediction score (range 0–5) created from 5 of these elements (age≥50, snoring, breathing cessations, BMI ≥30) had a sensitivity of 96.2% and a negative predictive value of 97.1% for severe OSA.
Individuals unlikely to have severe OSA can be recognized using a prediction score generated from basic, easily accessible data, allowing for a more immediate assessment of patients more likely to have severe OSA.