Correlation between REM AHI and quality-of-life scores in children with sleep-disordered breathing

Cristina Marie Baldassari, Lyla Alam, Maria Vigilar, James Benke, Charley Martin, Stacey Ishman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives. Prior research has demonstrated poor correlation between the obstructive apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) on full-night polysomnogram (PSG) and quality-of-life (QOL) scores. We aim to examine the association between rapid eye movement (REM) AHI and QOL scores in children with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB).

Study Design. Prospective trial.

Setting. Two tertiary childrens hospitals.

Subjects and Methods. Children between 3 and 16 years of age with suspected SDB who were undergoing PSG were eligible. Children with craniofacial anomalies were excluded. Subjects caregivers completed the Obstructive Sleep Apnea18 (OSA-18), a validated QOL survey. Power analysis determined a group size of 34.

Results. One hundred twenty-seven patients were enrolled. The mean (SD) age was 6.3 (3.3) years. Most subjects (52%) were black and 26% were obese. The mean (SD) obstructive AHI of the subject population was 5.4 (11.9), while the mean (SD) REM AHI was 13.1 (23.7). The mean total OSA-18 score was 65.2, indicating a moderate impact of SDB on QOL. Neither the obstructive AHI (P = .73) nor the REM AHI (P = .49) correlated with total OSA-18 scores. However, lower nadir oxygen saturation was associated with significantly poorer QOL (P = .02). The sleep disturbance OSA-18 subset score significantly correlated with both the obstructive AHI (r2 = 0.22; P = .01) and the REM AHI (r2 = 0.22; P = .01); the remaining 4 subset scores did not correlate with either factor.

Conclusion. Neither obstructive AHI nor REM AHI correlates with total OSA-18 QOL scores. With the exception of nadir oxygen saturation, PSG parameters do not reflect the burden of SDB on QOL in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-691
Number of pages5
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 12 2014


  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • pediatrics
  • polysomnogram
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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