Background: A particularly high burden of sleep apnoea is reported in patients treated with cardiac implants such as pacemakers and defibrillators. Sleep apnoea diagnosis remains a complex procedure mainly based on sleep and respiratory indices captured by polysomnography (PSG) or respiratory polygraphy (PG).
Aim: We aimed to evaluate the performance of implantable cardiac devices for sleep apnoea diagnosis compared to reference methods.
Method: Systematic structured literature searches were performed in PubMed, Embase and. Cochrane Library was performed to identify relevant studies. Quantitative characteristics of the studies were summarized and a qualitative synthesis was performed by a randomized bivariate meta-analysis and completed by pre-specified sensitivity analyses for different implant types and brands.
Results: 16 studies involving 999 patients met inclusion criteria and were included in the meta-analysis. The majority of patients were men, of mean age of 64 ± 4.6 years. Sensitivity of cardiac implants for sleep apnoea diagnosis ranged from 60 to 100%, specificity from 50 to 100% with a prevalence of sleep apnoea varying from 22 to 91%. For an apnoea-hypopnoea index threshold ≥30 events/h during polysomnography (corresponding to severe sleep apnoea), the overall performance of the implants was relevant with a sensitivity of 78% and a specificity of 79%. Subgroup analyses on implant type and brand provided no additional information owing to the small number of studies.
Conclusion: The respiratory disturbance index provided by cardiac implants is clinically relevant and might improve access to sleep apnoea diagnosis in at-risk cardiovascular populations. PROSPERO Registration number: CRD42020181656.
Keywords: Diagnosis; Implantable cardiac defibrillator; Pacemaker; Polysomnography; Sleep apnoea syndrome.