Diagnosis of sleep apnea in patients with stable chronic heart failure using a portable sleep test diagnostic device

Inês Araújo, Filipa Marques, Sandra André, Manuel Araújo, Sara Marques, Rita Ferreira, Patrícia Moniz, Margarida Proença, Pedro Borrego, Cândida Fonseca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE: ApneaLink is a portable device for the screening of sleep apnea, a prevalent and underdiagnosed comorbidity in heart failure patients. A prospective cross-sectional study in patients with chronic heart failure was carried out to assess the sensitivity and specificity of apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) measurements using ApneaLink against the standard polysomnography test.

METHODS: Adult patients with a prior hospitalization in an acute heart failure hospital unit were recruited for the study. All participants were tested for sleep apnea using ApneaLink and polysomnography simultaneously during an overnight stay at a sleep laboratory. Global sleep apnea was evaluated according to the AHI, which was analyzed and compared. Subpopulation comparison based on ejection fraction was not realized due to population size.

RESULTS: Thirty-five patients with stable chronic heart failure completed the study (mean age 70.9 ± 10.5 years and body mass index 30.0 ± 4.7 kg/m2). Two patients were excluded due to insufficient study duration. ApneaLink had a sensitivity greater than 80% for all AHI measurements, and a specificity greater than 80% for all AHI measurements, except for AHI ≥ 5 events/h (61.5%). The results showed higher sensitivities and specificities at AHI values of ≥ 10 events/h (sensitivity 81.3% and specificity 84.2%) and ≥ 15 events/h (sensitivity 83.3% and specificity 91.3%). Correlation analysis showed that AHI measurements using ApneaLink and polysomnography had a strong and significant correlation (r = 0.794; P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that ApneaLink could be used in clinical practice to identify heart failure patients with high (AHI ≥ 15 events/h) and low (AHI < 5 events/h) probability of having sleep apnea, sparing the need for a diagnostic polysomnography and thus potentially impacting prognosis by providing a more cost-effective and timely diagnosis of this non-cardiac comorbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-755
Number of pages7
JournalSleep & breathing = Schlaf & Atmung
Issue number3
Early online date17 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


  • ApneaLink
  • Heart failure
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep-disordered breathing


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