Night to night variability of pulse oximetry features in children at home and at the hospital

Xenia Hoppenbrouwer*, Aryannah U Rollinson, Dustin Dunsmuir, J Mark Ansermino, Guy Dumont, Wendy d'Hollosy, Peter H. Veltink, Ainara Garde Martinez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective. Investigation of the night-to-night (NtN) variability of pulse oximetry features in children with suspicion of Sleep Apnea. Approach. Following ethics approval and informed consent, 75 children referred to British Columbia Children's Hospital for overnight PSG were recorded on three consecutive nights, including one at the hospital simultaneously with polysomnography and 2 nights at home. During all three nights, a smartphone-based pulse oximeter sensor was used to record overnight pulse oximetry (SpO2 and photoplethysmogram). Features characterizing SpO2 dynamics and heart rate were derived. The NtN variability of these features over the three different nights was investigated using linear mixed models. Main results. Overall most pulse oximetry features (e.g. the oxygen desaturation index) showed no NtN variability. One of the exceptions is for the signal quality, which was significantly lower during at home measurements compared to measurements in the hospital. Significance. At home pulse oximetry screening shows an increasing predictive value to investigate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) severity. Hospital recordings affect subjects normal sleep and OSA severity and recordings may vary between nights at home. Before establishing the role of home monitoring as a diagnostic test for OSA, we must first determine their NtN variability. Most pulse oximetry features showed no significant NtN variability and could therefore be used in future at-home testing to create a reliable and consistent OSA screening tool. A single night recording at home should be able to characterize pulse oximetry features in children.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104003
Number of pages14
JournalPhysiological measurement
Issue number10
Early online date29 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • paediatric sleep apnea
  • pulse oximetry
  • signal analysis
  • pulse rate variability
  • night to night variability
  • linear mixed models
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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