The prevalence of REM-related obstructive sleep apnoea is reduced by the AASM 2012 hypopnoea criteria

  • Brett Duce
  • Antti Kulkas
  • Christian Langton
  • Juha Töyräs
  • Craig Hukins
Sleep Breathing Physiology and Disorders • Original Article



The variations in reported prevalence of rapid eye movement-related obstructive sleep apnoea (REM-OSA) have been attributed to different definitions, although the effect of hypopnoea criteria has not been previously investigated.


Within this retrospective study, 134 of 382 consecutive patients undertaking polysomnography (PSG) for the suspicion of OSA met the inclusion criteria. PSGs were scored using both the 2007 AASM recommended hypopnoea criteria (AASM2007Rec) and the 2012 AASM recommended hypopnoea criteria (AASM2012Rec). For each hypopnoea criteria, REM-OSA patients were grouped as REM-related [either as REM-predominant OSA (rpOSA) or REM-isolated OSA (riOSA)] or non-stage-specific OSA (nssOSA). Outcome measures (SF-36, FOSQ and DASS-21) were also compared between groups.


Incorporation of the AASM2012Rec criteria compared to the AASM2007Rec criteria increased the apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI) for NREM and REM sleep but decreased the AHIREM/AHINREM ratio from 1.9 to 1.3 (p < 0.001). It also decreased the prevalence of riOSA [15.7 vs 2.2% (p < 0.001) for AASM2007Rec and AASM2012Rec, respectively]. The prevalence of rpOSA remained the same for each hypopnoea criteria although the prevalence of nssOSA increased with the AASM2012Rec hypopnoea criteria [53.0 vs 66.4% (p < 0.006) for AASM2007Rec and AASM2012Rec, respectively]. There were no differences in clinical symptoms between the groups, irrespective of hypopnoea criteria used.


This study demonstrates that in comparison with AASM2007Rec, the AASM2012Rec hypopnoea criteria reduce the prevalence of riOSA but not rpOSA by reducing the ratio of REM respiratory events and NREM respiratory events.


Obstructive sleep apnoea Hypopnoea definition REM-OSA REM-isolated REM-predominant Methodology 


Compliance with ethical standards

Financial support

Antti Kulkas is supported by the Emil Aaltonen and Tampere Tuberculosis Foundations, the Seinäjoki Central Hospital and the Competitive State Research Financing of Expert Responsibility Area of Tampere University Hospital grant VTR3221. The sponsors had no role in the design or conduct of 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

The Institutional Human Research Ethics Committee of the Princess Alexandra Hospital approved this study (HREC/16/QPAH/021). All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study, formal consent by the patients was not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Respiratory & Sleep Medicine, Sleep Disorders CentrePrincess Alexandra HospitalWoolloongabbaAustralia
  2. 2.Institute of Health and Biomedical InnovationQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbane CityAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Clinical NeurophysiologySeinäjoki Central HospitalSeinäjokiFinland
  4. 4.Department of Applied PhysicsUniversity of Eastern FinlandKuopioFinland
  5. 5.Diagnostic Imaging CenterKuopio University HospitalKuopioFinland

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