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Addressing rural health disparity with a novel hospital sleep apnea screening:

Precision of a high-resolution pulse oximeter in screening for sleep-disordered breathing


Purpose: High-resolution pulse oximetry (HRPO) may offer a low-cost and simple screening option for sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) that could be vitally important in rural areas with limited healthcare resources and specialty care. Our team hypothesized that application of this technology to a broad cohort of rural dwelling hospitalized individuals would demonstrate congruence similar to previous urban studies comparing HRPO to portable sleep monitors. Methods: This retrospective study was conducted at West Virginia University Hospital and compared indices obtained from HRPO with those obtained from a type III portable sleep monitor (PM) on the same night. Results: A total of 365 individuals underwent evaluation. The mean oxygen desaturation index (18.8 ± 19.3 events/h) from the HRPO was slightly higher than the mean respiratory event index (16.0 ± 18.1 events/h, p ≤ 0.001) from the PM. ROC curves were developed for thresholds of apnea severity predicted by the screening program. The AUC values for all three thresholds exceeded 0.92 and for a respiratory event index (REI) of ≥ 30 was 0.965. Indices from the PM and HRPO demonstrated agreement in those individuals with screening suggestive of moderate to severe disease. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that use of HRPO in screening for SDB in hospitalized patients from rural communities is as accurate as PM and may serve as a simple cost-effective tool to address sleep health disparities in these regions with significant health inequity. Our data extend previous findings by applying HRPO to a larger hospitalized cohort with highly prevalent cardiopulmonary disease.

Keywords: High-resolution pulse oximetry; Hospitalized patients; Obstructive sleep apnea; Portable sleep monitor; Sleep-disordered breathing.


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