REM sleep behavior disorder and REM sleep without atonia in Parkinson's disease

J F Gagnon, M A Bédard, M L Fantini, D Petit, M Panisset, S Rompré, J Carrier, J Montplaisir
Neurology 2002 August 27, 59 (4): 585-9

OBJECTIVE: To determine the frequency of REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) among patients with PD using both history and polysomnography (PSG) recordings and to further study REM sleep muscle atonia in PD.

BACKGROUND: The reported occurrence of RBD in PD varies from 15 to 47%. However, no study has estimated the frequency of RBD using PSG recordings or analyzed in detail the characteristics of REM sleep muscle atonia in a large group of unselected patients with PD.

METHODS: Consecutive patients with PD (n = 33) and healthy control subjects (n = 16) were studied. Each subject underwent a structured clinical interview and PSG recording. REM sleep was scored using a method that allows the scoring of REM sleep without atonia.

RESULTS: One third of patients with PD met the diagnostic criteria of RBD based on PSG recordings. Only one half of these cases would have been detected by history. Nineteen (58%) of 33 patients with PD but only 1 of 16 control subjects had REM sleep without atonia. Of these 19 patients with PD, 8 (42%) did not present with behavioral manifestations of RBD, and their cases may represent preclinical forms of RBD associated with PD. Moreover, the percentage of time spent with muscle atonia during REM sleep was lower among patients with PD than among healthy control subjects (60.1% vs 93.2%; p = 0.003).

CONCLUSIONS: RBD and REM sleep without atonia are frequent in PD as shown by PSG recordings.

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