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[News] Elbow Test Could Help Diagnose Sleep Apnea
Elbow Test Could Help Diagnose Sleep Apnea
[Image: r-ELBOW-TEST-SLEEP-APNEA-large570.jpg?5]

Elbow Test Could Help Diagnose Sleep Apnea

Does your partner elbow you while you're sleeping because you're snoring too loudly?

This could be a reliable sign that you have sleep apnea, according to researchers from the University of Saskatchewan.

Findings presented at CHEST 2012, the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, show that asking someone whether they've been elbowed or poked by a partner for snoring or stopping breathing while sleeping is a sign of sleep apnea.

The findings are based on 124 people who went into a sleep disorders lab. They were asked whether they've ever been poked or elbowed due to their snoring, or poked or elbowed because they'd stopped breathing during sleep. Then, they underwent polysomnography (another word for a sleep study, where a person is monitored during their sleep to diagnose sleep disorders).

Researchers took down the participants scores on the apnea–hypopnea index (AHI), which is a measure of the severity of a person's sleep apnea and is determined by how many times a person has a sleep apnea "event" per hour. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, having an AHI between 5 and 15 (meaning there were 5 to 15 events in an hour) indicates mild sleep apnea; an AHI of 15 to 30 is moderate sleep apnea; and an AHI of 30 or higher is severe sleep apnea.

The researchers found that a person is nearly four times more likely have an AHI score greater than 5 (indicating at least mild sleep apnea) if they said that they've been woken up by a partner for their snoring.

And the likelihood of a person having an AHI score greater than 5 was more than 6 times higher if a person said that they'd been woken up by a partner for having an apneic spell (when a person stops breathing during sleep).

Researchers found that being elbowed for snoring was able to correctly identify sleep apnea 84 percent of the time (a measurement called sensitivity), though it was only able to pick out people who didn't have sleep apnea 41 percent of the time (a measurement called specificity). Meanwhile, being elbowed for breathing cessation during sleep was able to correctly identify sleep apnea 65 percent of the time, and it was able to pick out people who didn't have sleep apnea 77 percent of the time.

"This simple, easy to remember questionnaire significantly improves the pretest prediction of a diagnosis of OSA [obstructive sleep apnea] in the outpatient clinic," researchers wrote in the abstract.

Because the findings have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, they should be regarded as preliminary.

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RE: Elbow Test Could Help Diagnose Sleep Apnea
Oh, I love this one. And so very true!

Take a deep breath and count to zen.

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RE: Elbow Test Could Help Diagnose Sleep Apnea
As a matter of fact, my wife has been elbowing me while I sleep because of both loud snoring and pauses in breathing, so when I finally went in for a sleep study I knew what the result would be. From what my wife had told me, I already knew I had apnea, so I experienced absolutely NO surprise or devastation at the news. Since I knew I had sleep apnea before the sleep study and had the sleep study done in order to treat the apnea, I've had no problem accepting the machine and hose (I am making peace with the mask by living with the one I've got til I can afford to try another, and will do so until I find the one that works best for me - ins limits me to one new mask every 3 months). My only regret is not starting to treat the apnea sooner. My father refused to treat his apnea and had depression, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, a heart attack at 48, stroke at about 54, and was dead at 63. I don't want to be like him, so I'm treating mine.
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RE: Elbow Test Could Help Diagnose Sleep Apnea
My wife sleeps too well & she can fall asleep in less than a minute in many cases.
But she had said that she noticed that I would have periods where I seemed to stop breathing but it took years to get doctors to believe me when I would complain about poor sleep & finally got a referral to a sleep clinic only after taking a sleep study done by a local Pharmacist (a box I wore for 6 or 7 days) now looking back it wast probably an Oximeter.
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RE: Elbow Test Could Help Diagnose Sleep Apnea
My wife sleeps soundly and never noticed that I stopped breathing. She did notice the loud snoring, though.

I've observed her quite a bit. She snores when she has congestion, but I've not noticed her having apneas.

For me, the tell-tale question was "Do you ever wake up refreshed?"

The answer then was no, now it's every once in a while. But I rarely wake up feeling like a total piece of crap, and I used to feel that way every morning.

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RE: Elbow Test Could Help Diagnose Sleep Apnea
I thought I would add to this post. I don't snore at all. My wife is also a sound sleeper and never knew I had apnea. A common misnomer is that only people who snore have apnea. The sleep doc was 95% sure before the study I had it based on the structure in the back of my throat. He was right. I was told that apnea is genetic. If your mom had apnea, 100% of her kids will have it and should be tested. If the dad has it, it is more than likely that the kids will have it.
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RE: Elbow Test Could Help Diagnose Sleep Apnea
So it seems by the observations of being "elbowed" for snoring that the person most likely 84% of the time has Sleep Apnea even if no apnea events are observed. My wife is a heavy "snorer", sounds like I should encourage her to consider a Sleep Study. She always sleeps with her mouth open. I could hear her snoring when I'm in the living room watching TV. I hope she is receptive to this information!
Finger Lakes Region, NY
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