Periodic limb movements and sleepiness in obstructive sleep apnea patients

José Haba-Rubio, Luc Staner, Jean Krieger, Jean P Macher
Sleep Medicine 2005, 6 (3): 225-9

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to assess the possibility that periodic limb movements during sleep (PLMS) could play an additive role in the sleepiness associated with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) before treatment, or could account for residual sleepiness in successfully CPAP-treated patients.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: In order to test this hypothesis, we compared objective sleepiness, assessed by the Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) and subjective sleep propensity, assessed by the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), in a clinical series of 57 patients consecutively diagnosed with OSAS (apnea/hypopnea index, 53.3+/-26.15), before and after 1 year of treatment with CPAP.

RESULTS: Twenty-two patients (38.5%) had significant PLMS (at least 5 PLMS/h of sleep; mean 52.9+/-53.9) in absence of apneas (with CPAP). The two groups (with and without PLMS) were similar in gender distribution, BMI, apnea/hypopnea index or CPAP level. Patients with PLMS were older than those without PLMS. Sleepiness measurements following OSAS diagnosis and after 1 year of CPAP treatment were similar in patients PLMS compared to those without significant PLMS. There was no correlation in the PLMS patient group between the PLM index, Epworth Sleepiness Scale score and mean latency in the MSLT.

CONCLUSION: In this study we did not find a link between PLMS and increased objective or self-evaluated sleepiness in OSAS patients, before or after treatment with CPAP.

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