Sleep and Breathing

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 1169–1174 | Cite as

Comparison of American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) versus Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) polysomnography (PSG) scoring rules on AHI and eligibility for continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment

  • Arkady Korotinsky
  • Samson Z Assefa
  • Montserrat Diaz-Abad
  • Emerson M Wickwire
  • Steven M Scharf
Sleep Breathing Physiology and Disorders • Original Article



Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an important clinical condition. Eligibility for treatment usually depends on disease severity, measured as the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), equal to the sum of apneas plus hypopneas per hour of sleep. There is divergence on scoring rules for hypopneas between the recommendations of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the Center for Medicare Services (CMS), the latter being more restrictive. Thus, patients could be eligible for treatment under AASM rules, but not under CMS rules.


Sleep laboratory records of 112 consecutive patients were reviewed (85 < 65, 27 ≥ 65 years old). AHI was calculated both by AASM and by CMS criteria. Information on demographics, and important comorbidities, was also reviewed.


AHI was lower in younger patients using CMS criteria. However, differences in AHI using the two sets of criteria were not significantly different in the older patients. Incorporating all criteria for eligibility (severity, presence of certain comorbid conditions) for treatment, we found that fewer younger patients would be eligible using CMS criteria, but among the older patients, eligibility for treatment was the same whether AASM or CMS criteria were used.


Use of CMS criteria for scoring hypopneas results in lower estimates of OSA severity, with fewer younger patients eligible for treatment. However, among Medicare age patients, the rate of treatment eligibility was the same whether AASM or CMS scoring rules were used.


Sleep apnea American Academy of Sleep Medicine Centers for Medicare Services Hypopnea criteria 


Compliance with ethical standards


No funding was received for this research.

Conflict of interest

All authors certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the studies were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional review board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

Informed consent

As the study was performed retrospectively from the clinical practice of the Sleep Disorders Center, and involved no manipulation by drug or device, and did not involve the collection of any identifiers, the Institutional Review Board ruled that informed consent was not necessary.

Disclosure statement

This was not an industry-supported study. The authors report no financial conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arkady Korotinsky
    • 1
    • 2
  • Samson Z Assefa
    • 1
  • Montserrat Diaz-Abad
    • 1
  • Emerson M Wickwire
    • 1
  • Steven M Scharf
    • 1
  1. 1.Sleep Disorders Center, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care MedicineUniversity of MarylandBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, David Geffen UCLA School of MedicineWest Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical CenterLos AngelesUSA

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