Patients who undergo a single night of portable sleep monitoring are at risk of having their sleep apnea disease severity misclassified, according to study results published in CHEST.

The study enrolled 10,340 adults with sleep apnea who were referred to a diagnostic testing facility for a sleep study. An at-home sleep apnea test was performed by a self-applied type 3 monitor, which was used for 3 consecutive nights. The monitor assessed oxyhemoglobin saturation, oro-nasal airflow, and chest excursion.

Researchers determined the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) for each night and computed a reference AHI using data from all 3 nights. In addition, the researchers identified the presence and severity of sleep apnea based on 4 thresholds of individual AHI and the reference AHI values: <5.0 (normal), 5.0 to 14.9 (mild), 15.0 to 29.9 (moderate), and ≥30.0 (severe).

The researchers concluded that portable monitoring across multiple nights “clearly provides an alternative for more diagnosing sleep apnea that is accessible for all health care professionals.”

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