Sleep and Breathing

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 39–45 | Cite as

The Berlin questionnaire for sleep apnea in a sleep clinic population: relationship to polysomnographic measurement of respiratory disturbance

  • Negar Ahmadi
  • Sharon A. ChungEmail author
  • Alison Gibbs
  • Colin M. Shapiro
Original Article


The Berlin questionnaire (BQ) has been used to help identify patients at high risk of having sleep apnea in primary care and atrial fibrillation patients. The BQ may be a useful adjunct in sleep medicine and research, but it has never been validated in a sleep clinic population. The aim of the study is to determine the specificity and sensitivity of the BQ compared to the respiratory disturbance index (RDI) values obtained from two nights of polysomnographic recording in a sleep clinic population. This is a retrospective chart review study of 130 sleep clinic patients. Patients’ demographics, BQ scores, RDI measurements, and sleep study parameters were extracted from the patients’ chart. Of the 130 charts reviewed, the BQ identified 76 (58.5%) as being at high-risk of having sleep apnea, but overnight polysomnography found only 34 of the 130 patients (26.2%) had an RDI > 10. The BQ performed with 0.62 sensitivity and 0.43 specificity at the RDI > 10 level. Due to the low sensitivity and specificity as well as the large number of false negatives and positives, the Berlin questionnaire is not an appropriate instrument for identifying patients with sleep apnea in a sleep clinic population.


Sleep Apnea Berlin questionnaire Excessive daytime sleepiness 



The authors wish to extend their thanks and appreciation to the following who contributed their invaluable statistical efforts to this paper: Ryan Browne, Rachel Chu, Yin Cui, Matthew Davis, MingXia Deng, Meng Du, Shuyu Fan, Lin Fang, Kimberly Fernandes, Charlotte Grieve,David Han, Dan He, Lei He, Shahedul Ahsan Khan, Linglong Kong, Zi Jin, Longhai Li, Song Li, Yuanyuan Liang, Kristen Maddalena, Jesse Raffa, Enayetur Raheem, Rena (Jie) Sun, Li Wang, Mengzhe Wang, Weiling Wang, Yaling Yin, Erik Youngson, Fei Yuan, Cynthia (Xin) Zheng, Michelle Zhou, and Qiaohao Zhu.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Negar Ahmadi
    • 1
  • Sharon A. Chung
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alison Gibbs
    • 2
  • Colin M. Shapiro
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryToronto Western HospitalTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of StatisticsUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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