gms | German Medical Science

76th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

04.05. - 08.05.2005, Erfurt

Comparison of the desaturation index (DI) with the Respiratory-Disturbance-Index (RDI) in children

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author Christine Klemens - Großhadern Medical Centre, München
  • Richard de la Chaux - Großhadern Medical Centre, München
  • Alfred Dreher - Großhadern Medical Centre, München
  • Gerd Rasp - Großhadern Medical Centre, München

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Heilkunde, Kopf- und Hals-Chirurgie. 76. Jahresversammlung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Heilkunde, Kopf- und Hals-Chirurgie e.V.. Erfurt, 04.-08.05.2005. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2005. Doc05hno443

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: September 22, 2005

© 2005 Klemens et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Introduction: The obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) in children shows important differences in its pathophysiology compared to adults. Children more often display episodes of hypoventilation without distinct abrupt desaturations.

Methods: Computerized polysomnography was performed in 30 children with suspected OSAS. Apneas and Hypopneas were scored according to the criterias of the American Thoracic Society. The desaturation index was calculated from data from the oxygen saturation probe. Agreement between the RDI and the desaturation index was examined by using statistical analyses.

Results: Mean RDI was 6,24/h, mean DI was 3,14/h. The correlation between the two indices was poor (Spearman-Rho correlation 0,57). The mean of the differences between RDI and DI was 3,1 (limits of agreement 0,83 to 5,37). The sensitivity and specifity of simple oxymetrie for diagnosing OSAS in children (RDI>=1) was 79% respectively 40%.

Discussion: Simple oximetry measurements cannot replace laboratory polysomnography, which remains the golden standard in diagnosing OSAS in children.