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In Sleep & breathing = Schlaf & Atmung

PURPOSE : Sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) is a prevalent sleep disorder in which apnea and hypopnea occur frequently during sleep and result in increase of the risk of lifestyle-related disease development as well as daytime sleepiness. Although SAS is a common sleep disorder, most patients remain undiagnosed because the gold standard test polysomnography (PSG), is high-cost and unavailable in many hospitals. Thus, an SAS screening system that can be used easily at home is needed.

METHODS : Apnea during sleep affects changes in the autonomic nervous function, which causes fluctuation of the heart rate. In this study, we propose a new SAS screening method that combines heart rate measurement and long short-term memory (LSTM) which is a type of recurrent neural network (RNN). We analyzed the data of intervals between adjacent R waves (R-R interval; RRI) on the electrocardiogram (ECG) records, and used an LSTM model whose inputs are the RRI data is trained to discriminate the respiratory condition during sleep.

RESULTS : The application of the proposed method to clinical data showed that it distinguished between patients with moderate-to-severe SAS with a sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 100%, results which are superior to any other existing SAS screening methods.

CONCLUSION : Since the RRI data can be easily measured by means of wearable heart rate sensors, our method may prove to be useful as an SAS screening system at home.

Iwasaki Ayako, Nakayama Chikao, Fujiwara Koichi, Sumi Yukiyoshi, Matsuo Masahiro, Kano Manabu, Kadotani Hiroshi


Machine learning, Sleep apnea syndrome, Telemedicine, Wearable sensor