Predictive ability and reliability of the STOP-BANG questionnaire in screening for obstructive sleep apnea in midlife women

Cinthya A.Pena Orbea, Robin M. Lloyd, Stephanie S. Faubion, Virginia M. Miller, Kristin C. Mara, Ekta Kapoor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: The STOP-BANG questionnaire (snoring, tiredness, observed apneas, high blood pressure, body mass index, age, neck size, gender) was originally validated to screen for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in the surgical population. It has been validated in mixed populations of men and women. We aimed to evaluate its reliability for OSA screening of midlife women. Study design: We retrospectively evaluated midlife women seen at the Women's Health Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who completed the STOP-BANG questionnaire and subsequently underwent diagnostic polysomnography (PSG) or home sleep apnea testing (HSAT). Main outcome measures: The questionnaire's predictive ability was assessed with the apnea hypopnea index (AHI) measured at PSG and HSAT. Results: Because participants were female, the gender question response was consistently 0, making the mean (SD) STOP-BANG score low at 3 (1.2). The most sensitive item to detect any OSA and moderate to severe OSA through STOP-BANG was observed apneas; the most specific item to detect OSA and moderate to severe OSA was neck circumference exceeding 40 cm. A score of 3 or more had a sensitivity of 77 % and a specificity of 45 % to detect moderate to severe OSA. The area under the curve with the STOP-BANG score to predict moderate to severe OSA was 0.67 (95 % CI, 0.51–0.84). Conclusions: Interpretation of the STOP-BANG questionnaire is nuanced for midlife women. Given the nature of its questions, a lower score may be predictive of more severe OSA in women, necessitating use of a lower threshold to trigger further testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Menopause
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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