OBJECTIVE To compare 2 composite indices of sleep apnea disease burden with the commonly used apnea-hypopnea index with regard to baseline measurement of subjective and objective disease burden. STUDY DESIGN Cross-sectional study. SETTING Tertiary academic medical center sleep laboratory. SUBJECTS AND METHODS Patients with suspected diagnosis of sleep apnea undergoing first diagnostic polysomnography. Subjective data were collected via validated questionnaires; objective data were obtained by standardized physical examination, chart extraction, and polysomnography. Four subjective (patient-reported) disease burden measures and 3 objective (anatomic and physiologic) disease burden measures were used for validation. Associations between composite indices or apnea-hypopnea index and these 7 construct validation measures were compared using bootstrapped correlation coefficients. RESULTS Two hundred sixteen subjects were included in the final analysis. Both composite disease burden indices showed clinically important or nearly important associations with 3 of 4 subjective validation measures and all 3 objective validation measures, whereas the apnea-hypopnea index was associated only with the objective validation measures. CONCLUSION Composite indices of sleep apnea disease burden may capture the breadth of baseline sleep apnea disease burden, particularly subjective disease burden, better than the apnea-hypopnea index.