STOP-Bang Questionnaire: Screening Patients for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Last updated: September 11th, 2023

What Is the STOP-Bang Questionnaire?

The STOP-Bang questionnaire is a simple eight-item test that is used to screen patients for obstructive sleep apnea.You can use a STOP-Bang calculator here.

It was developed by a team of researchers at the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada, and has been used extensively since 2006. The acronym stands for “Snoring, Tiredness, Observed apneas, high blood Pressure, body Mass index, Age, Neck circumference, Gender” – all factors which can increase a person’s risk for sleep apnea. With each “yes” answer to the questions, the risk of OSA increases.

What Do STOP-Bang Scores Mean?

The STOP-Bang questionnaire assigns a score ranging from 0 to 8 based on the answers to the questions. A score of 0 to 3 indicates low risk, 4 to 5 implies intermediate risk, and 6 or up means high risk. People who score 6 or above are recommended to receive a diagnostic sleep study, such as a polysomnogram, which measures brain activity, oxygen levels, and other parameters to help diagnose OSA and other sleep-related disorders.

When Is the STOP-Bang Test Used?

The STOP-Bang questionnaire is primarily used in a clinical setting to screen patients for sleep apnea. It can be used to evaluate people who complain of snoring, daytime sleepiness, and other OSA-related symptoms. It is also used in more general settings, such as during routine physical exams.

Is the STOP-Bang Questionnaire a Reliable Tool to Diagnose Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

The STOP-Bang questionnaire has been well studied and has been established as an effective and reliable clinical tool for screening for obstructive sleep apnea. It is especially useful for patients who may not have access to a sleep study due to geographic isolation, expense, or other factors. Studies have found that people who score a 6 or higher on the STOP-Bang questionnaire are three times more likely to have OSA than those who score lower.

Can the STOP-Bang Questionnaire Diagnose Other Types of Sleep Apnea?

The STOP-Bang questionnaire is designed to detect the presence of obstruction in the airway during sleep. As such, it is most reliable when evaluating obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common type. Non-obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep-related breathing difficulties, such as central sleep apnea, cannot be reliably diagnosed with the STOP-Bang questionnaire.

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