Inter-examiner agreement of the systematic physical examination in patients with obstructive sleep disorders
The goal of this study was to investigate the agreement between examiners who were or were not trained in the physical examination of the upper airway (UA) and the craniofacial skeleton of individuals with obstructive sleep disorders (OSD).
A systematic assessment of the UA and craniofacial skeleton was performed on 55 individuals with OSD. The participants were consecutively assessed by three otorhinolaryngologists who specialized in sleep medicine for at least 1 year (trained examiners) and two doctors who were attending a residency program in otorhinolaryngology (untrained examiners).
When analyzing all of the parameters assessed, the concordance was better in the trained group (k = 0.694, which is considered “good”) compared to the untrained group (k = 0.475, “fair”) (p < 0.001). The inter-examiner agreement was also better in the trained compared to the untrained group, as follows: craniofacial (k = 0.643 vs. 0.349), nasal (k = 0.657 vs. 0.614), and pharyngeal (k = 0.729 vs. 0.276) abnormalities (p < 0.05).
The overall concordance of the physical examination of the UA and craniofacial skeleton was “good” among the trained specialists and “fair” among examiners without appropriate training, despite its subjectivity.
KeywordsPhysical examination Upper airway Obstructive sleep apnea Snoring Reproducibility
Compliance with ethical standards
The authors declare that they have no funding.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
The study was approved by the institutional research ethics committee—Brazil Platform, ruling no. 226,524.
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