The Epworth Sleepiness Scale: can it be used for sleep apnoea screening among snorers?


Dr E.Z. Osman, Department of Otolaryngology, Glan Clwyd Hospital, Rhyl, Denbighshire LL18 5UJ, UK.


Snoring is a common disorder and may lead to the development of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) with its associated hazards. Differentiation of patients with OSA from patients with simple snoring is crucial to the ENT surgeon before selecting treatment. This study aimed to assess the reliability of the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) to screen for OSA among snorers. Forty-six patients referred for treatment of snoring were studied. Each patient completed the ESS questionnaire and subsequently underwent a hospital sleep study. The ESS scores did not correlate with the apnoea/hypopnoea indices calculated from the sleep studies (correlation coefficient 0.12). The lack of correlation is mainly because simple snorers can also suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, due to an unclear mechanism. The ESS is a useful questionnaire for assessing disability as a result of snoring but it is of no value in distinguishing simple snorers from patients with OSA.