BACKGROUND: In daily practice, sleep apnea is underdiagnosed in people with Down syndrome. The WatchPAT can detect sleep apnea in a less invasive way.
AIM: This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of the WatchPAT to detect sleep apnea in individuals with Down syndrome.
METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Thirty-one participants with Down syndrome (aged 18+) were included. Sleep apnea was detected with the WatchPAT and compared to results of the STOP-Bang Questionnaire (current practice). Experiences of participants, caregivers and clinicians were studied using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods.
OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: Among the 68% of participants who accepted the WatchPAT, sleep apnea was detected in 95% of participants. Younger participants and participants with mild/moderate intellectual disabilities were more likely to accept the device. STOP-Bang did not detect most cases of sleep apnea. For the degree of sleep apnea, interrater reliability was substantial (k = 0.71) to almost perfect (k = 0.91). Considering experiences, caregivers and clinicians were predominantly positive about the WatchPAT.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study showed that the WatchPAT is a promising device to detect sleep apnea in people with Down syndrome. Compared to polysomnography, detection with this device is less invasive and less burdensome for people with Down syndrome. Furthermore, the WatchPAT is a relatively accessible solution to implement in care institutions.