Issue Navigator

Volume 10 No. 03
Earn CME
Accepted Papers

Scientific Investigations

Diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Using Pulse Oximeter Derived Photoplethysmographic Signals

Ayal Romem, M.D., MHA1; Anat Romem, DNP2; Dafna Koldobskiy, M.D.1; Steven M. Scharf, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.S.M.1
1Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD; 2Bouve College of Health Sciences, School of Nursing, Northeastern University, Boston, MA


Increasing awareness of the high prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and its impact on health in conjunction with high cost, inconvenience, and short supply of in-lab polysomnography (PSG) has led to the development of more convenient, affordable, and accessible diagnostic devices. We evaluated the reliability and accuracy of a single-channel (finger pulse-oximetry) photoplethysmography (PPG)-based device for detection of OSA (Morpheus Ox).


Among a cohort of 73 patients referred for in-laboratory evaluation of OSA, 65 were simultaneously monitored with the PPG based device while undergoing PSG. Among these, 19 had significant cardiopulmonary comorbidities. Using the PSG as the “gold standard,” the sensitivity, specificity, negative predictive value (NPV), positive predictive value (PPV), as well as the positive likelihood ratio (+LR) for an apnea hypopnea index (AHI)PSG > 5/h and AHIPSG > 15/h were calculated for the PPG.


Valid results were available for 65 subjects. Mean age: 52.1 ± 14.2, Male: 52%, and BMI: 36.3 ± 9.7 kg/m2. Positive correlation was found between PPG-derived and PSG-derived AHI (r = 0.81, p < 0.001). For AHIPSG > 5/h, sensitivity was 80%, specificity 86%, PPV 93%, NPV 68%, and +LR was 5.9. For AHIPSG > 15/h, sensitivity was 70%, specificity 91%, PPV 80%, NPV 85%, and +LR was 7.83. The corresponding areas under the receiver operator curves were 0.91 and 0.9.


PPG-derived data compare well with simultaneous in-lab PSG in the diagnosis of suspected OSA among patients with and without cardiopulmonary comorbidities.


Romem A; Romem A; Koldobskiy D; Scharf SM. Diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea using pulse oximeter derived photoplethysmographic signals. J Clin Sleep Med 2014;10(3):285-290.

Please login to continue reading the full article

Subscribers to JCSM get full access to current and past issues of the JCSM.

Login to JCSM

Not a subscriber?

Join the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and receive a subscription to JCSM with your membership