Sleep and Vigilance

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 111–118 | Cite as

Correlations Between Waist and Neck Circumferences and Obstructive Sleep Apnea Characteristics

  • Chloe Tom
  • Bhaswati Roy
  • Ruchi Vig
  • Daniel W. Kang
  • Ravi S. Aysola
  • Mary A. Woo
  • Ronald M. Harper
  • Rajesh KumarEmail author
Original Article



The body mass index (BMI), an estimate of body fat, provides a rather imprecise indication of risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). We examined whether other measures, including waist and neck circumferences, provide improved indicators of risk in treatment-naïve OSA subjects.


We studied 59 OSA subjects [age, 48.8 ± 10.0 years; BMI, 31.9 ± 6.6 kg/m2; apnea–hypopnea index (AHI), 38.5 ± 23.0 events/h; sleep-efficiency index (SEI, n = 52), 78.6 ± 14.4%; lowest oxygen saturation (SaO2 nadir), 79.5 ± 8.0%; systolic blood pressure (BP), 127.4 ± 15.7 mmHg; diastolic BP, 80.1 ± 9.1 mmHg; 43 male], and determined waist and neck circumferences (waist, 107.4 ± 15.3 cm; neck, 41.8 ± 4.7 cm), daytime sleepiness [Epworth sleepiness scale (ESS), 8.7 ± 4.6], sleep quality [Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI), 8.5 ± 4.1], depression levels [Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II), 6.6 ± 5.7], and anxiety levels [Beck anxiety inventory (BAI), 6.2 ± 7.2]. We used partial correlation procedures (covariates, age, and gender) to examine associations between BMI, and waist and neck circumferences vs. AHI, sleep, and neuropsychological variables.


BMI, and waist and neck circumferences were significantly correlated with SaO2 nadir (BMI; r = − 0.423, p = 0.001; waist; r = − 0.457, p < 0.001; neck; r = − 0.263, p = 0.048), AHI (BMI; r = 0.349, p = 0.008; waist; r = 0.459, p < 0.001; neck; r = 0.276, p = 0.038), and systolic BP (BMI; r = 0.354, p = 0.007; waist; r = 0.321, p = 0.015; neck; r = 0.388, p = 0.003). SEI was significantly correlated with waist circumference (r = 0.28, p = 0.049), but higher with BMI (r = 0.291, p = 0.04).


No other significant waist or neck correlations emerged. This study suggests that waist and neck measures correlate better than BMI with select disease severity (SaO2 nadir and AHI) in OSA subjects. The findings offer an easily measured, ancillary means to assess OSA risk.


Depression Anxiety Body mass index Apnea–hypopnea index Systolic blood pressure 



Apnea–hypopnea index


Arousal index


Beck Anxiety Inventory


Beck Depression Inventory (II)


Body mass index


Blood pressure


Epworth sleepiness scale


Heart rate


Montreal cognitive assessment


Obstructive sleep apnea




Pittsburgh sleep quality index

SaO2 nadir

Lowest oxygen saturation rate


SaO2 baseline–SaO2 nadir


Sleep-efficiency index


Trail-making tests



The authors would like to thank Mr. Luke Ehlert, Ms. Karen A. Harada, and Ms. Kelly A. Hickey for their assistance with data collection.


This research work was supported by National Institutes of Health R01 HL-113251 and R01 NR-015038.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chloe Tom
    • 1
  • Bhaswati Roy
    • 2
  • Ruchi Vig
    • 1
  • Daniel W. Kang
    • 3
  • Ravi S. Aysola
    • 4
  • Mary A. Woo
    • 2
  • Ronald M. Harper
    • 5
    • 8
  • Rajesh Kumar
    • 1
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLAUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.UCLA School of NursingUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLAUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLAUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  5. 5.Department of Neurobiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLAUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  6. 6.Department of Radiological Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLAUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  7. 7.Department of BioengineeringUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  8. 8.Brain Research InstituteUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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