Journal of Clinical Monitoring and Computing

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 341–345 | Cite as

Validation of a photoplethysmography device for detection of obstructive sleep apnea in the perioperative setting

  • Philipp FaßbenderEmail author
  • Ali Haddad
  • Silja Bürgener
  • Jürgen Peters
Original Research


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a risk factor for perioperative complications, but many OSA patients present undiagnosed. While polysomnography (PSG) is the “gold standard” for diagnosis, its application is technology-intense, time-consuming, expensive, and requires specialists, often delaying surgery. Thus, miniaturized devices were developed for OSA screening aimed at ruling out major OSA while measuring a lesser number of biological signals. We evaluated the accuracy of a photoplethysmography (PPG)-based device for OSA detection. 48 patients with established or strongly suspected (STOP-Questionnaire) OSA scheduled for surgery underwent in their preoperative nights parallel recordings by PPG and a classic polygraphy (PG) devices (SomnoLab2®). We compared the diagnostic accuracy of the PPG in diagnosing mild [Apnea-/Hypopnea-Index (AHI) 5–14 events/h] and moderate-to-severe OSA (AHI > 15). PPG and PG-derived AHI correlated significantly (r = 0.85, p < 0.0001) and high area under curve (AUC) in receiver operator characteristics (ROC) values were seen for both AHI thresholds (0.93 and 0.95, respectively). For an AHI > 5, sensitivity was 100%, specificity 44%, positive predictive value (PPV) 62%, negative predictive value (NPV) 100%, likelihood ratio (LHR) 1.79, and Cohen κ was 0.43. For an AHI > 15, sensitivity was 92%, specificity 77%, PPV 60%, NPV 96%, LHR 4.04, and Cohen κ was 0.59. In a typical perioperative cohort of confirmed and suspected OSA patients, PPG reliably detected OSA patients while showing some false-positive results. Such devices are helpful for preoperative OSA screening.


Anesthesia Photoplethysmography Sleep apnea Screening Perioperative safety 



We thank Weinmann Geräte für Medizin GmbH & Co. KG, Hamburg, Germany, for supporting this study by lending us five portable polygraphy devices.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Klinik für Anästhesiologie und IntensivmedizinUniversität Duisburg-Essen and Universitätsklinikum EssenEssenGermany

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