A common screening tool for obstructive sleep apnea could be appropriate to look for disordered breathing in patients who also have multiple sclerosis, according to new research.

In multiple sclerosis, a STOP-Bang (for Snoring, Tiredness, Observed apneas, high blood Pressure, BMI, Age, Neck circumference, Gender) cutoff score of 3 or greater produces a sensitivity similar to that seen in patients without multiple sclerosis (MS), according to study results presented at the 2020 Forum for Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis held February 27-29, 2020, in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Obstructive sleep apnea is closely associated with MS, based on the STOP-Bang screening tool that assesses characteristics known to confer the risk for obstructive sleep apnea. The STOP-Bang tool has been widely used across a variety of patient samples but has not yet been validated in patients with MS. Researchers of the study assessed the sensitivity and specificity of the STOP-Bang tool in patients with MS.

Researchers of the study used data from an ongoing randomized controlled trial examining the effects of obstructive sleep apnea and its treatment on cognition in patients with MS. Inclusion criteria were patients with MS aged 18 through 70 years with a STOP-Bang score of 2 or greater, or with a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea regardless of STOP-Bang score. All patients underwent STOP-Bang assessments and in-lab polysomnography. Researchers calculated specificities and sensitivities for all STOP-Bang scores and compared them with results from the overnight polysomnography.

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