Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Evaluation Of The Diagnosis

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Evaluation Of The Diagnosis

On the previous blogs, we have discussed what is obstructive sleep apnea the risk factors as well as the symptoms. Here is a brief overview; 

OSA or Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea and is characterized by what causes the stop or pause on breathing, in this case, a muscle may be blocking the air path. It shows repeated episodes of complete or partial obstructions of the upper airway during sleep. Risk factors are age, male gender, obesity, upper airway abnormality, smoking, family history, pregnancy, diabetes, and other diseases. People with OBS commonly report daytime sleepiness, snoring, gasping, choking, snorting and interruptions in breathing.

Screening you is the first step, you may sleep in-lab or at your house with some questionnaires to answer the following day. Snoring and other factors will be checked during the screening but this is just the initial part and the final evaluation you will undergo to these as well:

  • Focused sleep history
  • Physical examination including a detailed examination of the oropharynx
  • Polysomnography (PSG) and/or referral to a specialist in sleep medicine or otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat) for further evaluation and possible treatment


After all the tests and diagnoses there are criteria to check as well and the following are the diagnostic criteria for pediatric OSA (all children <18 years of age) as defined by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).


Clinical criteria – The presence of one or more of the following clinical symptoms:

  • Snoring
  • Labored, paradoxical, or obstructed breathing during the child's sleep
  • Sleepiness, hyperactivity, behavioral problems, or learning problems


Polysomnographic criteria – The PSG demonstrates one or both of the following:

  • One or more obstructive apneas, mixed apneas, or hypopneas, per hour of sleep.
  • A pattern of obstructive hypoventilation, defined as at least 25 percent of total sleep time with hypercapnia (partial pressure of carbon dioxide [PaCO2] >50 mmHg) in association with one or more of the following:
    • Snoring
    • Flattening of the nasal pressure waveform
    • Paradoxical thoracoabdominal motion


Upper airway resistance syndrome and obstructive hypoventilation were previously considered distinct entities but have now been subsumed into the category of OSA. The proper diagnosis of any sleeping disorder has really strict and lots of tests, as some may have similar symptoms so we highly suggest you go to your doctor to treat your sleeping disorder. Sleeping disorders can hinder someone’s daily life when not treated.




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