Night-to-Night Variability in Sleep Disordered Breathing and the Utility of Esophageal Pressure Monitoring in Suspected Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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J Clin Sleep Med


STUDY OBJECTIVE: Esophageal manometry (Pes) is the gold standard to detect repetitive episodes of increased respiratory effort followed by arousal (RERAs). Because RERAs are not included in the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), we often refer patients with symptoms of sleep disordered breathing (SDB) and AHI < 5 for a second polysomnogram (PSG) with Pes. Often, the second PSG will demonstrate AHI > 5, confirming a diagnosis of OSA. We speculate that in most cases of suspected SDB, Pes does not add further diagnostic data and that night-to-night variability in OSA severity results in a first false-negative study.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective review of PSGs between 2008 and 2012 in adults with initial PSG negative for OSA followed by a second study (with or without Pes) within 6 mo.

RESULTS: Of 125 studies that met inclusion criteria, a second study was completed with Pes in 105 subjects. SDB was diagnosed in 73 subjects (68.5%) completing a second PSG with Pes: 49 (46.7%) received a diagnosis based on AHI, and 24 (22.8%) received a diagnosis based on Pes (p = 0.003). There were no statistically significant differences in the mean AHI change between the two PSGs in subjects who completed the second study with or without Pes.

CONCLUSIONS: In patients with symptoms of SDB and initial PSG with AHI < 5, the majority met criteria for OSA on second PSG by AHI without additional information added by Pes. Because Pes is not widely available and is somewhat invasive, a repeat study without Pes may be sufficient to diagnose SDB.

Medical Subject Headings

Adolescent; Adult; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Esophagus; Female; Humans; Male; Manometry; Middle Aged; Polysomnography; Retrospective Studies; Severity of Illness Index; Sleep Apnea Syndromes; Young Adult

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