We previously reported that the best definition of hypopneas in the sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome (SAHS) is based on reduction in thoracoabdominal movement. However, the repeatability of scoring hypopneas from thoracoabdominal movement has not been assessed, nor has the need to record flow as well as thoracoabdominal movement. Thus, two poly- somnographers independently scored both apneas and hypopneas on all-night polysomnograms of patients with SAHS. There was close agreement between the polysomnographers for the number of hypopneas (r=0.98; mean difference 11%) and for the number of apneas (r=0.99; mean difference 8%). The agreement was similar for the durations of both hypopneas (r=0.99; mean difference 13%) and apneas (r=0.99; mean difference 11%). There was also close agreement between the total number of respiratory events scored with and without reference to the flow signal (r=0.99; mean difference 1.4%) with a maximum under-recognition of 18 events per night in a subject with 237 apneas per night. Thus, hypopneas can be scored reproducibly. In addition, the value of always recording and scoring flow as well as thoracoabdominal signals is questioned.
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