A new classification system detailing the type of signals measured by home sleep testing devices for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) appears in the latest issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

The proposed system categorizes home sleep testing devices, called out-of-center (OOC) testing devices in the paper, based on measurements of Sleep, Cardiovascular, Oximetry, Position, Effort, and Respiratory (SCOPER) parameters. Criteria for evaluating the devices are also presented, based on pre-test and post-test probabilities.

The first widely used classification system for describing sleep testing devices was published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) in 1994.

“There’s been a plethora of testing devices developed since then that do not fit well within the original classification scheme,” said Nancy Collop, MD, president of the AASM and lead author of the review article. “The previously accepted method of classification has become unsuitable. A new classification system, SCOPER, is being proposed in this paper.”

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Last year, the AASM board commissioned a task force to determine a more specific and inclusive method of classifying and evaluating sleep testing devices other than polysomnography (PSG) used as aids in the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in the OOC setting. The scope of the commission’s work was limited to classification and evaluation of performance characteristics, and not the technology’s use in practice guidelines, accreditation standards, or management principles.

Collop said the paper is meant to be the first step in a comprehensive process to evaluate and subsequently make recommendations on how to use home sleep testing devices in an outpatient population. The next paper is expected to address the important issues of determining pretest probability, interpreting study results, and developing testing algorithms and treatment decisions.