Nonlinear characteristics of blood oxygen saturation from nocturnal oximetry for obstructive sleep apnoea detection

D Alvarez, R Hornero, D Abásolo, F del Campo, C Zamarrón
Physiological Measurement 2006, 27 (4): 399-412
Nocturnal oximetry is an attractive option for the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) syndrome because of its simplicity and low cost compared to polysomnography (PSG). The present study assesses nonlinear analysis of blood oxygen saturation (SaO(2)) from nocturnal oximetry as a diagnostic test to discriminate between OSA positive and OSA negative patients. A sample of 187 referred outpatients, clinically suspected of having OSA, was studied using nocturnal oximetry performed simultaneously with complete PSG. A positive OSA diagnosis was found for 111 cases, while the remaining 76 cases were classified as OSA negative. The following oximetric indices were obtained: cumulative time spent below a saturation of 90% (CT90), oxygen desaturation indices of 4% (ODI4), 3% (ODI3) and 2% (ODI2) and the delta index (Delta index). SaO(2) records were subsequently processed applying two nonlinear methods: central tendency measure (CTM) and Lempel-Ziv (LZ) complexity. Significant differences (p < 0.01) were found between OSA positive and OSA negative patients. Using CTM we obtained a sensitivity of 90.1% and a specificity of 82.9%, while with LZ the sensitivity was 86.5% and the specificity was 77.6%. CTM and LZ accuracies were higher than those provided by ODI4, ODI3, ODI2 and CT90. The results suggest that nonlinear analysis of SaO(2) signals from nocturnal oximetry could yield useful information in OSA diagnosis.

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