• Vol. 37 No. 8, 629–636
  • 15 August 2008

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea in Singapore: Polysomnography Data From a Tertiary Sleep Disorders Unit



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Introduction: Comprehensive sleep architecture and respiratory event data in local patients with suspected obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) from overnight polysomnography (PSG), the gold standard for the evaluation of sleep-related breathing disorders, are not widely available. We present 1 year retrospective PSG data with the objective of describing PSG characteristics of patients evaluated for OSA in Singapore.

Materials and Methods: PSG data of patients evaluated for OSA in 1 year (January through December 2005) in the Sleep Laboratory of a public tertiary hospital were retrospectively reviewed.

Results: Five hundred and eighty-four diagnostic PSG studies were performed in patients with symptoms suggestive of sleep-disordered breathing, including snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, unrefreshing sleep, or recurrent unexplained awakenings. There were 449 male patients (76.9%) and 135 female patients (23.1%), with a mean age of 47.5 years (SD 12.7). Men were on average younger than women, 46.1 years versus 52.0 years (P 15-30 (“Moderate”) (18.3%), AHI >30 (“Severe”) (31.2%). There was no significant age difference among the 4 groups. More severe OSA patients were significantly heavier, and had more light sleep, less deep sleep, less REM sleep, more respiratory event related arousals and lower levels of oxygen desaturation.

Conclusion: OSA is predominant in middle-aged, overweight Singapore males and much less common in females who tend to be older. A majority of patients have moderate to severe OSA, which significantly disturbs normal sleep architecture. The relatively lower BMI compared to Caucasian OSA populations may be related to local craniofacial characteristics and/or higher percentage of body fat for BMI which has been described in Singaporeans.

Overnight attended polysomnography (PSG) in the sleep laboratory has been the gold standard to confirm the presence and severity of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). Standard PSG scoring rules using the criteria of Rechtschaffen and Kales have recently been revised and updated by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

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