Polysomnography is the gold standard for detection of central sleep apnea in patients with stable heart failure. However, this procedure is costly, time consuming, and a burden to the patient and therefore unsuitable as a screening method. An electronic health (eHealth) app to measure overnight oximetry may be an acceptable screening alternative, as it can be automatically analyzed and is less burdensome to patients.
This study aimed to assess whether overnight pulse oximetry using a smartphone-compatible oximeter can be used to detect central sleep apnea in a population with stable heart failure.
A total of 26 patients with stable heart failure underwent one night of both a polygraph examination and overnight saturation using a smartphone-compatible oximeter. The primary endpoint was agreement between the oxygen desaturation index (ODI) above or below 15 on the smartphone-compatible oximeter and the diagnosis of the polygraph.
The median age of patients was 66.4 (interquartile range, 62-71) years and 92% were men. The median body mass index was 27.1 (interquartile range, 24.4-30.8) kg/m2
. Two patients were excluded due to incomplete data, and two other patients were excluded because they could not use a smartphone. Seven patients had central sleep apnea, and 6 patients had obstructive sleep apnea. Of the 7 (of 22, 32%) patients with central sleep apnea that were included in the analysis, 3 (13%) had an ODI≥15. Of all patients without central sleep apnea, 8 (36%) had an ODI<15. The McNemar test yielded a P value of .55.
Oxygen desaturation measured by this smartphone-compatible oximeter is a weak predictor of central sleep apnea in patients with stable heart failure.