Kezirian EJ, White DP, Malhotra A, Ma W, McCulloch CE, Goldberg AN. Interrater Reliability of Drug-Induced Sleep Endoscopy. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2010;136(4):393-397. doi:10.1001/archoto.2010.26
To determine the interrater reliability of drug-induced sleep endoscopy (DISE).
Prospective cohort; blinded comparison.
Academic referral center.
Subjects with obstructive sleep apnea unable to tolerate positive airway pressure therapy.
Drug-induced sleep endoscopy was performed with intravenous propofol infusion to achieve sedation, and the videoendoscopy recording was evaluated by 2 independent reviewers.
Main Outcome Measures
The following outcomes were measured: a global assessment of obstruction at the palate and/or hypopharynx; the degree of obstruction at the palate and hypopharynx; and the contribution of individual structures (palate, tonsils, tongue, epiglottis, and lateral pharyngeal walls) to obstruction.
A total of 108 subjects underwent DISE examination. Diagnostic sleep studies demonstrated a mean (SD) apnea-hypopnea index of 39.6 (24.0). Three-quarters of the subjects demonstrated multilevel airway obstruction at the palate and hypopharynx, with a diversity of individual structures contributing to obstruction. The interrater reliability for the presence of obstruction at the palate and hypopharynx (κ values, 0.76 and 0.79, respectively) was higher than for the degree of obstruction (weighted κ values, 0.60 and 0.44). The interrater reliability for the assessment of primary structures contributing to obstruction at the palate and hypopharynx (0.70 and 0.86) was higher than for the contributions of individual structures (κ values, 0.42-0.71). The interrater reliability for evaluation of the hypopharyngeal structures was higher than for those of the palate region.
The interrater reliability of DISE is moderate to substantial.
clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00799097
Airway obstruction in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can occur at many levels, and the principal regions of dynamic obstruction are the palate and hypopharynx (actually corresponding to the hypopharynx and the retrolingual portion of the oropharynx). Surgical procedures are inherently directed at specific regions of the upper airway, and by addressing airway obstruction in a targeted fashion, it may be possible to tailor surgical treatment to a patient's specific pattern of obstruction—improving surgical results and/or minimizing the scope of surgical intervention. A major goal of surgical assessment is determining the pattern of obstruction, but upper airway anatomical assessment is limited by the fact that evaluation is often static and performed during wakefulness, which may not represent dynamic upper airway behavior during sleep. Drug-induced sleep endoscopy (DISE) differs and may provide a useful upper airway examination. First described as sleep nasendoscopy in 1991,1 the technique requires pharmacologic sedation and fiberoptic visualization of the upper airway to observe directly and characterize the upper airway collapse that occurs during sedation.2 Drug-induced sleep endoscopy has been shown to be a safe, feasible, and valid assessment of the upper airway,3- 5 and we have demonstrated moderate to substantial test-retest reliability.6 The objective of this study was to examine DISE interrater reliability.
This prospective cohort study included consecutive subjects seen by the lead author (E.J.K.) in the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. Inclusion criteria included age older than 18 years, apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) higher than 5/h on sleep study, and inability to tolerate positive airway pressure therapy. Exclusion criteria included pregnancy and allergy to propofol or to components of propofol, such as egg lecithin or soybean oil. This study was approved by the UCSF institutional review board, and all subjects provided written informed consent.
All subjects underwent DISE in the operating room. The DISE technique has been described previously.2 A continuous intravenous infusion of propofol was used as the sole agent to achieve sedation, with the target level of sedation being arousal to loud verbal stimulation, similar to a Modified Ramsay score of 5 or Observer's Assessment of Alertness/Sedation score of 4. The initial infusion rate of propofol was 50 to 75 μg/kg/min, and the rate was adjusted to meet this target level of sedation. The lead author (E.J.K.) performed all DISE examinations, and the digitally recorded video images were later reviewed concurrently but independently by 2 surgeons. The unblinded surgeon (E.J.K.) was aware of subject identity throughout; the blinded surgeon (A.N.G.) was informed only of whether the subject had previously undergone tonsillectomy and had no knowledge of history or physical examination findings, sleep study results, or planned procedures.
The DISE findings were summarized with 3 analyses. Analysis 1 was a global dichotomous (yes or no) assessment of obstruction at each of 2 levels: the palate and the hypopharynx. Analysis 2 reflected the degree of palatal and hypopharyngeal obstruction. This was graded separately for each region subjectively and categorized in an ordinal fashion as less than 50%, 50% to 75%, and more than 75% obstruction; these were not quantitative but were a qualitative assessment of no or mild, moderate, and severe obstruction, respectively. Analysis 3 evaluated specific structures with a determination of which structure at the level of the palate and hypopharynx was the primary factor in airway obstruction, if present, and a dichotomous evaluation of whether each of the individual structures contributed to airway obstruction. Structures were grouped as those at the level of the palate (palate, tonsils when present, and lateral pharyngeal walls at the velopharynx) and the hypopharynx (tongue, epiglottis, and lateral pharyngeal walls at the hypopharynx).
Descriptive statistics were calculated for baseline subject characteristics, and results are reported with means (SDs). Summary statistics for the DISE findings were also calculated, with the McNemar test for paired proportions to evaluate differences between the unblinded and blinded reviewer ratings. The percentage of agreement between reviewer ratings was calculated, and Cohen κ (for Analyses 1 and 3) and weighted κ using linear weights (for Analysis 2) statistics were calculated to assess interrater reliability. Statistical analyses were conducted using Stata software (version 10.0; StataCorp LP, College Station, Texas).
A total of 108 subjects underwent DISE examinations from 2004 through 2008. The mean (SD) age was 43.7 (10.2) years (range, 20-68 years), and 14 of 108 (13%) were female. Most (85 of 108 [79%]) were non-Hispanic white, per subject report. On diagnostic sleep studies, the mean (SD) AHI was 39.6 (24.0), with the following distribution across commonly used AHI cutpoints: 11 of 108 (10%) with an AHI of 5 to less than 15, 36 of 108 (33%) with an AHI of 15 to 30, and 61 of 108 (56%) with an AHI higher than 30. The lowest oxygen saturation during sleep was 80.6% (12.1%), and the subjects with oxygen desaturation level below 90% during sleep (n = 74) spent 13.2% (19.0%) of sleep time with an oxygen saturation level below 90%. Twenty-four subjects (22%) had prior tonsillectomy. The mean propofol infusion rate required to achieve sedation was 110 (25) μg/kg/min (range, 50-175 μg/kg/min). The total propofol dose was variable, as the DISE evaluation time varied widely. A subset of subjects (n = 22) underwent clinical evaluation of the depth of sedation using the Modified Ramsay score (mean [SD], 4.8 [0.8]; range, 4-6) and the Observer's Assessment of Alertness/Sedation score (2.8 [1.0], range, 1-3).
A complete DISE examination was performed in all cases, and all subjects demonstrated airway obstruction. The DISE findings are presented in Table 1. Almost all subjects demonstrated evidence of palatal obstruction, and most also demonstrated hypopharyngeal obstruction (Analyses 1 and 2, reviewer ratings). Both reviewers determined that most subjects (81 of 108 [75%] for the unblinded reviewer and 85 of 108 [79%] for the blinded reviewer) demonstrated obstruction at the levels of both the palate and hypopharynx. Although multilevel obstruction was common, there was diversity in the structures that contributed to obstruction, both in the primary structure and the contribution of individual structures (Analysis 3, reviewer ratings). Table 2 presents the combinations of individual structures contributing to palatal and hypopharyngeal obstruction, reflecting the multiple observed combinations of involved structures.
The reviewer ratings differed statistically, but the overall distribution of findings was largely similar. Percent agreement and interrater reliability results (κ statistics) are also presented in Table 1. The reliability of the global assessment of obstruction (0.79 and 0.76 in Analysis 1) was somewhat higher than for the degree of obstruction (0.60 and 0.44 in Analysis 2); this was particularly true for the hypopharynx. Analysis 3 results showed greater interrater reliability for the evaluation of the primary structure contributing to airway obstruction (0.70-0.86) than for individual structures (0.42-0.71). The assessments of the palate, tongue, and epiglottis contributions had greater reliability than for other structures.
Drug-induced sleep endoscopy has moderate to substantial interrater reliability. The interpretation of κ values is controversial, but these descriptive terms come from the framework proposed by Landis and Koch.7 Useful diagnostic tests must demonstrate important characteristics such as safety, validity, and reliability, and this study complements the previous work of others and our own research on test-retest reliability.
Drug-induced sleep endoscopy offers a unique structure-based assessment of the airway compared to other commonly used evaluation techniques. Many DISE classification schemes have been proposed,3,4,8- 17 and we developed our own to balance completeness and simplicity. Our region-based (Analyses 1 and 2) and structure-based (Analysis 3) method serves 2 major purposes: characterizing the pattern of obstruction and selecting among treatment options. This scheme uniquely focuses attention on the primary structures contributing to obstruction in each region; we posit that treatment of these primary structures may be required, at a minimum, to eliminate upper airway obstruction. The interrater reliability—like the test-retest reliability6—is higher for the identification of primary structures than for the involvement of individual structures.
According to both reviewers, three-quarters of the subjects in this study demonstrated multilevel obstruction during DISE. Although the upper airway does not consist of 2 regions (palate and hypopharynx) in isolation, if DISE provides an accurate airway assessment, single pharyngeal procedures may be less likely to treat OSA successfully than combinations—or at least single procedures that treat both the palate and hypopharynx. Because surgical procedures are ultimately directed at specific structures, DISE may improve procedure selection and outcomes. This may not be as important for palatal obstruction, for which the most common surgical treatment is uvulopalatopharyngoplasty with possible tonsillectomy, regardless of specific contribution of the lateral pharyngeal walls at the velopharynx. Although there are alternative palate procedures, it remains unclear how to identify specific subgroups of patients who obtain better or worse outcomes, compared to uvulopalatopharyngoplasty.
However, the involvement of specific structures may be critical for the hypopharynx, where DISE may inform decisions if the multiple treatment options exert differential effects on the tongue, epiglottis, and/or lateral pharyngeal walls. The 3 structures that most commonly contribute to hypopharyngeal airway obstruction are the tongue, epiglottis, and lateral pharyngeal walls, and the results for Analysis 3 indicate that there seems to be an important diversity in the patterns of hypopharyngeal obstruction, a diversity that is evaluated with moderate to substantial interrater reliability. This may prove invaluable if the array of surgical and nonsurgical treatment options to treat the hypopharyngeal airway truly exert differential effects on these various structures. For example, the genioglossus advancement and tongue radiofrequency procedures likely produce greater changes in tongue position during sleep than in the lateral pharyngeal walls. The hyoid suspension may have less effect on tongue position but may alter the behavior of the epiglottis and/or lateral pharyngeal walls during sleep.
The most common surgical treatment for palatal obstruction is uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, with tonsillectomy in most patients without previous tonsillectomy. Because a similar surgical approach is used for patients regardless of whether the soft palate or velopharynx lateral pharyngeal walls contribute more to obstruction, the question of whether a patient has palate-level obstruction (as in Analysis 1) may be more important than determining whether specific structures contribute to collapse (Analysis 3). Because almost all subjects in this study demonstrated palatal obstruction, the significance of differentiating palate vs velopharynx-level lateral pharyngeal wall obstruction based on DISE (Analysis 3) is unclear. With the adoption of a wider variety of first-line palate procedures, this may prove more important.
The precise relationship between natural sleep and propofol sedation is unclear. Propofol has dose-dependent effects on muscle tone and airway collapsibility, and it is unlikely that propofol sedation is a perfect simulation of natural sleep with precisely the same effects on upper airway dilator muscle activity. Hillman et al18 demonstrated that propofol sedation, compared to wakefulness, is associated with decreases in genioglossus neuromuscular activity and increases in airway collapsibility similar to that observed in stable non–rapid eye movement sleep. Our target level of sedation (arousal only to loud verbal stimulation) was based on previous research showing more pronounced changes in genioglossus activity and Pcrit during propofol anesthesia (ie, deeper than unconscious sedation),19 and our overriding concern in this study was minimizing propofol infusion rates to avoid oversedation. We monitored the depth of sedation clinically and in the latter stages incorporated 2 clinical assessments: the Modified Ramsay score and the Observer's Assessment of Alertness/Sedation score. Although the depth of sedation (with spontaneous respiration and the ability to tolerate fiberoptic endoscopy) remained within a defined range, some authors have proposed standardizing propofol dose with use of target-controlled infusion, a proprietary technology (Diprifusor; Astra-Zeneca Inc, London, England) that calculates effect site (brain) concentration using a 3-compartment pharmacokinetic model.19,20 This approach is well suited to demonstrating the effects of varying propofol doses, but our objective is based on the target depth of anesthesia. Instead, our work and that of others18 has shown that different subjects will achieve a defined level of sedation at different propofol doses, so we instead targeted the depth of sedation and adjusted propofol infusion rates accordingly. Fortunately, previous research has demonstrated a linear relationship between propofol infusion rates and serum concentrations at rates of 50 to 200 μg/kg/min,21 a range that captures the doses used in this study; this suggests that there is little difference between our adjustment of infusion rates within this range and the target-controlled infusion method. As an objective measure of the depth of anesthesia, future investigations should incorporate bispectral index monitoring or some other, more objective measure of the depth of sedation.
Any useful diagnostic evaluation must demonstrate validity and reliability, among other qualities. Other studies have also supported the validity of DISE. Berry et al5 showed that no subjects without a history of snoring or witnessed apneas (0 of 54) developed snoring or airway obstruction with escalating doses of propofol using target-controlled infusion to a maximum level, whereas all subjects with snoring at baseline (53 of 53) developed snoring and/or airway obstruction. Another study compared 207 primary snorers without OSA with 117 subjects with OSA after receiving bolus doses of propofol and found a higher degree of collapsibility in the latter group, with a correlation between the AHI during natural sleep and the degree of hypopharyngeal obstruction during DISE.4 Another group3 administered diazepam (10 mg, with additional doses as needed) to 50 subjects (30 with OSA and 20 with primary snoring but not OSA) and performed polysomnography measurement during DISE for a mean period of over 2 hours; there were no differences between natural sleep and diazepam-induced sedation in the AHI, apnea index, or measures of oxygen saturation. The diversity of patterns on DISE in this study is also reassuring because it likely reflects underlying variation in anatomy and patterns of obstruction during natural sleep rather than an artifact of propofol infusion that might produce identical airway obstruction patterns. Although the gold standard to establish validity would be natural sleep endoscopy, previous researchers have shown that this is challenging.22,23
Drug-induced sleep endoscopy as a diagnostic procedure has important theoretical and logistical limitations. Both reviewers are experienced sleep surgeons who have worked together to develop a novel DISE scoring method. The generalizability of the findings can be explored with larger studies that include more reviewers. Finally, DISE has associated costs and risks (albeit relatively low) that must be balanced against the benefits of the procedure. These benefits—its role in procedure selection and improving outcomes—have been examined in one study in which subjects with isolated palatal obstruction on DISE achieved better outcomes after uvulopalatopharyngoplasty than those with combined palatal and hypopharyngeal obstruction.13 Future research will be invaluable in making risk-benefit determinations.
Correspondence: Eric J. Kezirian, MD, MPH, Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, 2233 Post St, Third Floor, Campus Box 1225, San Francisco, CA 94115 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Submitted for Publication: March 27, 2009; final revision received June 23, 2009; accepted August 3, 2009.
Author Contributions: Dr Kezirian had full access to all the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. Study concept and design: Kezirian, White, Malhotra, and Goldberg. Acquisition of data: Kezirian, Ma, and Goldberg. Analysis and interpretation of data: Kezirian, Malhotra, McCulloch, and Goldberg. Drafting of the manuscript: Kezirian, Malhotra, and Ma. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: White, Malhotra, McCulloch, and Goldberg. Statistical analysis: McCulloch. Obtained funding: Kezirian. Administrative, technical, and material support: Ma. Study supervision: White and Malhotra.
Financial Disclosure: Dr Kezirian is a consultant for Apneon, Apnex Medical, Medtronic, and Pavad Medical and is on the medical advisory board for Apnex Medical. Dr White is a consultant for Aspire Medical, Itamar Medical, Pavad Medical, and is the chief medical officer for Philips Respironics. Dr Malhotra has been a consultant and/or has received research grants from Apnex Medical, Cephalon, Ethicon, Itamar, NMT, Pfizer, Respironics, Restore/Medtronic, Sepracor. Dr McCulloch has received research funding from Amgen. Dr Goldberg is a consultant for ApniCure, Aspire Medical, and Carbylan and is a stockholder in ApniCure.
Funding/Support: Dr Kezirian is currently supported by a career development award from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a Triological Society Research Career Development Award of the American Laryngological, Rhinological, and Otological Society. The project was supported by NIH/NCRR/OD UCSF-CTSI grant No. KL2 RR024130.
Disclaimer: The article's contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.
Additional Contributions: David R. Hillman, MD, and Peter R. Eastwood, PhD, provided insight regarding upper airway behavior during propofol sedation.