A screening algorithm for obstructive sleep apnea in pregnancy

Bilgay Izci-Balserak, Zhu Bingqian Zhu, Indira Gurubhagavatula, Brendan T. Keenan, Grace W. Pien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Rationale: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is common in pregnancy and associated with maternal and fetal complications. Early detection of OSA may have important implications for maternal-fetal well-being. A screening tool combining several methods of assessment may better predict OSA among pregnant women compared with tools that rely solely on self-reported information. Objectives: To develop a screening tool combining subjective and objective measures to predict OSA in pregnant women. Methods: This study is a secondary analysis using data collected from a completed cohort of pregnant women (n = 121 during the first and n = 87 during the third trimester). Participants underwent full polysomnography and completed the Multivariable Apnea Prediction Questionnaire. The Obstructive Sleep Apnea/Hypopnea Syndrome Score and Facco apnea predictive model were obtained. Logistic regression analysis and area under the curve (AUC) were used to identify models predicting OSA risk. Results: Participants’ mean age was 27.4 6 7.0 years. The prevalence of OSA during the first and third trimester was 10.7% and 24.1%, respectively. The final model predicting OSA risk consisted of body mass index, age, and presence of tongue enlargement. During the first trimester, the AUC was 0.86 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.76–0.96). During the third trimester, the AUC was 0.87 (95% CI, 0.77–0.96). When the first-trimester data were used to predict third-trimester OSA risk, the AUC was 0.87 (95% CI, 0.77–0.97). This model had high sensitivity and specificity when used during both trimesters. The negative posttest probabilities (probability of OSA given a negative test result) ranged from 0.03 to 0.07. Conclusions: A new model consisting of body mass index, age, and presence of tongue enlargement provided accurate screening of OSA in pregnant women, particularly African-Americans. This tool can be easily and rapidly administered in busy clinical practices without depending on patients’ awareness of experiencing apnea symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1286-1294
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • OSA
  • Prediction
  • Screening
  • Sensitivity
  • Specificity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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