(HealthDay News) – Most patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) have sleep disordered breathing (SDB), according to a study published in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Abdulghani Sankari, MD, PhD, from the Wayne State University in Detroit, and colleagues characterized sleep disturbances in 26 patients with SCI (15 cervical and 11 thoracic levels). Participants underwent spirometry, completed a battery of questionnaires, and underwent attended polysomnography with flow and pharyngeal pressure measurements.

The researchers found that in SCI patients the mean Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index was increased to 10.3 ± 3.7, and 92% of patients reported poor sleep quality. The mean Epworth Sleepiness Scale was 10.4 ± 4.4 in SCI patients, and 59% had excessive daytime sleepiness. 96% of SCI patients had daytime fatigue, but only 46% had a high-risk score of SDB on the Berlin questionnaire. In SCI, the forced vital capacity was reduced to 70.5% redicted in supine vs. 78.5% predicted in upright positions (P<0.05). Similarly, forced expiratory volume in one second was 64.9% and 74.7% predicted in supine and upright positions, respectively (P<0.05). The mean Apnea Hypopnea Index was 29.3 ± 25 events/hour based on the 2012 recommended American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) criteria and 20 ± 22.8 events/hour using conventional 2007 (standard) AASM criteria. Using new and standard AASM criteria, 77% and 65% of SCI patients, respectively, had SDB.

“The majority of SCI survivors have symptomatic SDB and poor sleep that may be missed if not carefully assessed,” the authors write.

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)