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A Review of Current Tools Used for Evaluating the Severity of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Authors Cao W, Luo J, Xiao Y

Received 3 August 2020

Accepted for publication 8 October 2020

Published 18 November 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 1023—1031

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NSS.S275252

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Sarah Appleton


Wenhao Cao, Jinmei Luo, Yi Xiao

Department of Respiratory Medicine, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Yi Xiao
Department of Respiratory Medicine, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, People’s Republic of China
Email xiaoyipumch@sina.com

Abstract: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common and heterogeneous disease characterized by episodic collapse within the upper airways, which leads to reduced ventilation and adverse consequences, including hypoxia, hypercapnia, sleep fragmentation, and long-term effects such as cardiovascular comorbidities. The clinical diagnosis of OSA and its severity classification are often determined based on the apnea–hypopnea index (AHI), defining the number of apneic and hypopnea events per hour of sleep. However, the limitations of the AHI to assess disease severity have necessitated the exploration of other metrics for additional information to reflect the complexity of OSA. Novel parameters such as the hypoxic burden have the potential to better capture the main features of OSA by maximizing the information available from the polysomnogram. These emerging measures have described multidimensional qualities of sleep-disordered breathing events and breathing irregularity and will ultimately result in better management of OSA.

Keywords: obstructive sleep apnea, apnea–hypopnea index, disease severity, hypoxic burden, polysomnogram

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