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Point-of-care prediction model of loop gain in patients with obstructive sleep apnea: development and validation



High loop gain (unstable ventilatory control) is an important-but difficult to measure-contributor to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) pathogenesis, predicting OSA sequelae and/or treatment response. Our objective was to develop and validate a clinical prediction tool of loop gain.


A retrospective cohort of consecutive adults with OSA (apnea-hypopnea index, AHI > 5/hour) based on in-laboratory polysomnography 01/2017-12/2018 was randomly split into a training and test-set (3:1-ratio). Using a customized algorithm ("reference standard") loop gain was quantified from raw polysomnography signals on a continuous scale and additionally dichotomized (high > 0.7). Candidate predictors included general patient characteristics and routine polysomnography data. The model was developed (training-set) using linear regression with backward selection (tenfold cross-validated mean square errors); the predicted loop gain of the final linear regression model was used to predict loop gain class. More complex, alternative models including lasso regression or random forests were considered but did not meet pre-specified superiority-criteria. Final model performance was validated on the test-set.


The total cohort included 1055 patients (33% high loop gain). Based on the final model, higher AHI (beta = 0.0016; P < .001) and lower hypopnea-percentage (beta = -0.0019; P < .001) predicted higher loop gain values. The predicted loop gain showed moderate-to-high correlation with the reference loop gain (r = 0.48; 95% CI 0.38-0.57) and moderate discrimination of patients with high versus low loop gain (area under the curve = 0.73; 95% CI 0.67-0.80).


To our knowledge this is the first prediction model of loop gain based on readily-available clinical data, which may facilitate retrospective analyses of existing datasets, better patient selection for clinical trials and eventually clinical practice.

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