A group of researchers have created a clinical screening process to identify obstructive sleep apnea in higher-risk, hospitalized patients.
“The results showed that our screening process identified sleep disordered breathing in 87% of patients who followed up with a polysomnography,” said first author Sunil Sharma, MD, FAASM, associate professor of Pulmonary Medicine in the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. “We confirmed the high prevalence of undetected sleep disordered breathing among hospitalized patients and also validated a low-cost protocol to detect it.”
The researchers piloted the program in patients admitted to the hospital under cardiology, internal medicine and family medicine. Those patients with a body mass index over 30, a known risk factor for sleep apnea, were automatically screened with the Snoring, Tiredness during daytime, Observed apnea, high blood Pressure (STOP) Questionnaire.
If the patient screened positive, they received a formal sleep consult during their hospital stay and underwent overnight pulse-oximetry testing, which assessed the patient’s oxygen desaturation index (ODI). The researchers hypothesized that patients who were positive on the STOP questionnaire and experienced a high oxygen desaturation during the night, might be experiencing sleep apnea.