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Learn what AHI (Apnea-Hypopnea Index) is and How it is Used to Evaluate the Severity of Sleep Apnea




If you ever happened to go through a in-lab or in-home sleep study, your therapist possibly will present a report that shows the harshness of your obstructive sleep apnea as per AHI, however, you may be willing to know about the AHI thing. In this article, you will get know about the AHI, which is actually a calculation that tells us about the graveness of apnea and also your reaction to the treatment.

Discover AHI (Apnea-Hypopnea Index)

A statistical calculation, which records the number of times your breathing stops during an hour period of time, is known as AHI or apnea-hypopnea index.


Such type of respiring disorders are generally linked with short waking-up from your sleep at night or 3-4% fall of oxygen levels in your blood, which is normally recognized as de-saturation. The strictness of sleep apnea is assessed by this process. The AHI is related to RHI (Respiratory Disturbance Index), however, the RHI vary because it also comprises several other minute respiring issues. On the other hand, AHI is a segment of a report issued after a quality sleep assessment.


Calculation of AHI throughout a Sleep Check-up

In-lab sleep check-up, generally known as polysomnogram is utilized to examine sleep apnea. This type of check-up can also be carried out at home. A large amount of data is accumulated for the purpose to track the breathing patterns of a patient at night. 


For this purpose, a sensor is placed in the nostril of the patient together with a respiratory belt that draws out diagonally the chest and most of the times to the stomach as well. Additionally, a sensor known as oximeter calculates the oxygen levels and pulse rate by a laser lighting that shine by way of your fingertip with the help of a chip.


The data collected in this way is examined to conclude the number of times you respire thinly or stopped respiring completely throughout the nighttime. The fractional hindrance in the air passage is known as hypopnea.

In hypopnea airflow is reduced for the short period of time for about as a minimum 10 sec, thin respiration or the breathing rate is unusually low.


If the breathing is stopped completely, it is known as apnea. On the other hand, hypopnea is not as severe as apnea, where breathing stops completely. Similarly, less amount of air enters the lungs and grounds to drop of oxygen levels in the blood. It generally happens because of incomplete hindrance in the upper air passage.


For the purpose of counting in the AHI, these breathing pauses must be at least 10 sec and are connected with blood oxygen levels decline or ground to the arousing from the sleep. Thus an average pauses per hour are calculated during sleep, which refers to AHI of a patient.

Calculation of AHI

In adults, the sternness of your sleep apnea is categorized by using the AHI as follows:


Ø Normal AHI is less than 5 pauses in breathing every hour of night’s sleep
Ø Mild AHI is from 5 to 15 pauses in breathing every hour of night’s sleep
Ø Moderate AHI is from 15 to 30 pauses in breathing every hour of night’s sleep
Ø Severe AHI is above 30 pauses in breathing every hour of night’s sleep


The AHI is not normal in children if they even show single unusual breathing pattern every hour of night’s sleep and additionally children have never to be snoring constantly. 


The above categorization is handy in concluding the most excellent choices, in addition to the possibilities of allied warning signs, comprising stroke, blood sugar levels, hypertension, daytime drowsiness and several other intricacies. Oral appliance will possibly be suitable in case of mild-moderate sleep apnea.


CPAP treatment can be taken into consideration in case of any level of severe sleep apnea. Most of the CPAP devices also offer an alternate measurement of AHI, to make sure the appropriate reaction to the treatment.

While choosing you curing option, your therapist must take into consideration the risky aspects that are attached to that therapy.


In order to clarify more, for instance, a research study anticipated that merely 30% of OSA patients are able to bear the CPAP therapy. Furthermore, you possibly will find out that your AHI increases throughout REM assessment or while you sleep on your back that can have healing repercussions.
Consult your sleep professional if you are unable to understand the meaning of your AHI results.

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