The current definition of sleep arousals neglects to address the diversity of arousals and their systemic cohesion. Autonomic arousals (AA) are autonomic activations often associated with cortical arousals (CA), but they may also occur in isolation in relation to a respiratory event, a leg movement event or spontaneously, without any other physiological associations. AA should be acknowledged as essential events to understand and explore the systemic implications of arousals.We developed an automatic AA detection algorithm based on intelligent feature selection and advanced machine learning using the electrocardiogram. The model was trained and tested with respect to CA systematically scored in 258 (181 training size/77 test size) polysomnographic recordings from the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort.A precision value of 0.72 and a sensitivity of 0.63 were achieved when evaluated with respect to CA. Further analysis indicated that 81% of the non-CA-associated AAs were associated with leg movement (38%) or respiratory (43%) events.The presented algorithm shows good performance when considering that more than 80% of the false positives (FP) found by the detection algorithm appeared in relation to either leg movement or respiratory events. This indicates that most FP constitute autonomic activations that are indistinguishable from those with cortical cohesion. The proposed algorithm provides an automatic system trained in a clinical environment, which can be utilized to analyse the systemic and clinical impacts of arousals.
View details for PubMedID 29329416