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Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Other Causes of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness. Patient Scenario #1.

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patient scenario 1

Patient Scenario #1

A 45 year old man sought treatment of his snoring, which had been present for many years. His wife slept in another room because the snoring “shook the walls”. The patient reports excessive sleepiness (Epworth sleepiness scale score 18/24. Normal is 10 or less), morning headaches and problems concentrating at work. He admits to drinking more than five cups of coffee daily. There was no history of recent weight gain or alcohol use.

the physical examination
The Physical Examination
  • Height: 5 feet 10 inches
  • Weight: 190 pounds; Blood Pressure: 150/90
  • Neck 18 inch circumference
  • HEENT: long, edematous uvula, dependent palate (low lying)
  • Chest: clear
  • Cardiac: normal
  • Extremities: no edema
what is the next step

What is The Next Step?

Sleep Apnea is the most common cause of excessive daytime sleepiness and snoring, but there are many other disorders that must be carefully considered.

evaluating causes of excessive daytime sleepiness eds
Sleep Apnea Syndromes

Upper airway resistance syndromes


Periodic leg (limb)movements in sleep

Restless leg Syndrome

Circadian Sleep Disorders


Withdrawal from Stimulants

Drug dependence/Abuse

Medication side effects

Idiopathic Hypersomnia

Brain tumors



Self-rating scale of Sleepiness

Sleep-wake diary


Evaluating Causes of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS)



All Cases

Selected Cases

  • MSLT
  • Drug Screen
Epworth Sleepiness Scale:Measures average sleep propensity (chance of dozing) over 8 common situations that almost everyone encounters.

3= High chance of dozing; 2=moderate; 1=slight; 0=never

obstructive sleep apnea o s a
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (O.S.A)
  • OSA is a common disorder occurring in 4% of men and 2% of women.
  • During sleep, closure of the upper airway results in cessation or diminished airflow despite continued respiratory effort. The termination of the apneic event is associated with a brief awakening.
  • These arousals result in sleep fragmentation which reduces the amount of slow wave and REM sleep and causes varying degrees of daytime sleepiness.
risk factors for sleep disordered breathing
Risk Factors for Sleep Disordered Breathing
  • Excess body weight
  • Large neck circumference
  • Male gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Age
  • Menopause
  • Anatomy of airway=soft and hard palate.
indicators for a polysomnography psg
Indicators for a Polysomnography (PSG)
  • Suspicion of disorders that disturb sleep like sleep apnea, periodic limb disorder, REM behavior disorder
  • EDS
  • Obesity
  • Insomnia with daytime sleepiness
  • Nocturnal behavioral disorders

Multiple physiologic parameters are measured and compared with the established norms.

  • Electrocardiography (EKG)
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Electro-oculography (EOG)
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Pulse Oximetry
  • Respiration:

-Effort (chest and abdominal movements)


Snore sensor/microphone

    • Heat sensors measure airflow by detecting temperature changes in inspired and expired air

*Sleep conditions in the laboratory should be as close to the patients baseline sleep as possible.

human sleep architecture
Human Sleep Architecture
  • Wake
  • NREM sleep
      • Stages 1 and 2 (light sleep)
      • Stages 3 and 4 (deep sleep)
  • REM sleep
  • *Recognition of certain characteristic EEG patterns is essential for staging sleep
electroencephalographic lead placement
Electroencephalographic Lead Placement
  • Central
  • Occipital
  • Mastoid
  • *More electrodes can be added if nocturnal seizure is in the differential
monitoring eye movements
Monitoring Eye Movements

Standard : 2 eye channels

  • Detecting horizontal/vertical eye movements
  • Determining various stages of sleep
electromyography emg
Electromyography (EMG)
  • Diagnosis of Periodic Limb Movements(PLMS)
  • Chin movement
  • Diagnosis of certain sleep stages
monitoring respiration during sleep
Monitoring Respiration During Sleep
  • Apnea – cessation of airflow at the nose and mouth for 10 seconds or longer
  • Central Apnea – an absence of inspiratory effort
  • Obstructive Apnea – absence of airflow despite persistent respiratory effort
  • Mixed Apnea – initially no inspiratory effort…then terminates as an obstructive event
  • Hypopnea – reduction in airflow by 30% from baseline for > 10 seconds with > 4 % drop in oxygen saturation (controversial)
  • Respiratory Effort Related Arousals(RERAs) – an event not meeting the above criteria, yet produces an arousal from sleep.
important sleep parameters on psg
Important Sleep Parameters on PSG
  • Sleep stages (percentage)
  • Sleep efficiency
  • Apnea Hypopnea index (AHI), Respiratory Disturbance Index (RDI), paradoxical respiration; desaturations and cardiac arrhythmias
diagnosis of osa
Diagnosis of OSA

The Apnea + Hypopnea Index (AHI) a.k.a Respiratory Disturbance Index (RDI) = The Number of Apneas + hypopneas Per Hours of Sleep

treatment of osa
Treatment of OSA
  • Obesity- Diet and behavior modification
  • Positional Therapy

-non-supine sleep (pillow, etc.)

-raise the head of the bed

  • Nasal CPAP, BiPAP, Auto CPAP
  • Oral appliances
  • Soft tissue surgery or UPPP (Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty)
  • Skeletal surgery
  • Tracheotomy
significance of sleep disordered breathing
Significance of Sleep Disordered Breathing
  • Risk factor for stroke
  • Risk factor for cardiac arrhythmias
  • Risk factor for CAD and M.I.
  • Risk factor for pulmonary hypertension and right heart dysfunction
  • Cause of hypertension
patient scenario 2

Patient Scenario #2

A 40 year old man was referred because his wife complained that he kicked in his sleep and constantly disturbed her. The patient remembered awakening several times each night, but never noticed any discomfort at those times. He admitted that at bedtime he did have an irresistible urge to move his legs and he described a feeling of “pins and needles.” However this delayed his sleep only rarely. His Epworth Sleepiness Scale was 15/24 (sleepy).

PSG shows: Periodic leg movements in sleep (PLMS) – 20% of these events were associated with arousals.

periodic leg movement in sleep plms
Periodic Leg Movement in Sleep (PLMS)

PLMS are repetitive, stereotypic dorsiflexion movements of the toes, ankles, knees and thighs that recur at regular intervals. They occur most commonly in stages 1 and 2 but can occur less commonly in other stages. Patients are rarely aware of the leg movements themselves and complaints are usually from bed partners.

periodic leg movement disorder plmd
Periodic Leg Movement Disorder PLMD

This is a syndrome of leg movements + symptoms (ie. insomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness.

This is a polysomnographic diagnosis; but, it is often incorrectly used interchangeably with Restless Leg Syndrome.

International Classification of Sleep Disorders Criteria for PLMS Severity

restless leg syndrome rls
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

Characterized by abnormal and uncomfortable sensations in the limbs that compel the person to move to relieve the sensation and these movements are exacerbated by rest. The symptoms occur primarily in the evening or at night.

international rls study group criteria for diagnosis of rls
Unpleasant limb sensations: desire to move the limbs usually associated with paresthesias/dysesthesias (abnormal/unpleasant sensations)

Motor restlessness: patient is compelled to move

Symptoms precipitated by rest and relieved by activity: symptoms are worse or exclusively present at rest (i.e., sitting or lying with at least partial and temporary relief by activity

Symptoms worse in the evening or at night

Sleep disturbance and consequences: difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep; less commonly, excessive daytime sleepiness

Involuntary movements during wake or sleep (PLMS)

Normal neurologic exam in primary RLS; in secondary forms, possible evidence of neuropathy

Clinical course: onset any age, usually chronic and progressive, remissions may occur, can be exacerbated by or exclusively during pregnancy

Family history: sometimes present; suggestive of autosomal dominant pattern

International RLS Study Group Criteria for Diagnosis of RLS

Primary Features

Associated Features


PSG : Quasi-periodic movements of the legs during wakefulness with a prolonged sleep latency. After sleep, PLMs are noted in 70 –90% of Patients



differential diagnosis of rls
Differential Diagnosis of RLS
  • Neuropathy
  • Claudication
  • Painful toes and moving leg syndrome (lumbrosacral radiculopathy)
  • Neuroleptic akathesia

Causes and associations of PLMs

  • Any cause of RLS
  • Withdrawal of anti-convulsant, barbiturates, hypnotics
  • Associated with narcolepsy, OSA, CPAP titration

Causes of RLS/PLMD

Primary RLS

  • Secondary RLS
  • Fe deficiency anemia
  • ESRD
  • Pregnancy
  • Medications
  • -caffeine
  • -TCA’s
  • Cause unknown
  • ? If there’s an abnormality in Fe (iron) transport into the CNS or a defect in the use of Fe as it relates to dopaminergic neurons.


-Dopamine blockers

treatment options for rls plms
Treatment options for RLS/ PLMs
  • Nonpharmacologic-avoid etoh, caffeine, do light stretching, exercise, warm baths
  • Dopaminergic agents (ie, Sinemet)

-Treats PLMs and improves sleep quality

  • Dopamine agonists
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Narcotics (usually reserved for severe cases)
patient scenario 3

Patient Scenario #3

A 30 year old woman was evaluated for excessive daytime sleepiness of 5 year duration. There was no history of snoring or observed apnea. The patient recalled having difficulty holding her head up when she laughed or was embarrassed. The patient’s husband reported that sometimes she kicked the covers at night. Rarely, the patient felt she could not move for a while as she was falling asleep at night.

Narcolepsy is related to abnormal regulation of REM sleep and inappropriate intrusion of REM sleep physiology into wakefulness.

1998 Hypocretin/orexin (2 peptides) secreted by the hypothalamus and other brain areas.

2 major pathways:

-hypothalamus cortex

-hypothalamus Brain stem

-locus ceruleus- NE secreting neurons important in maintaining wakefulness

7 of 9 patients with narcolepsy had low orexin levels in their CSF.

Other studies have shown an absence of orexin-secreting neurons in the hypothalamus

Antigen DQB1* 0602 is the most sensitive marker for narcolepsy across all ethnic groups

narcolepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by
Narcolepsy is a Neurological Disorder Characterized by:


Can be followed years later by the other SX’s

  • Prevalence of disorder is .03 - .05% in the general population
  • Adolescence is the common age of onset
  • Second peak at about 40 years of age
    • (5% of cases start after age 50)
secondary narcolepsy
Head Trauma



Neurodegenerative Disorders

Brain tumors

CNS infections

Secondary Narcolepsy

PSG Findings:

Short REM Latency (low sleep efficiency) Sleep fragmentation; reduced slow wave sleep; +/- PLMs

indications for a multiple sleep latency test mslt
Indications for a Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)
  • Unexplained hypersomnolence (sleepiness); sleep apnea and other disorders.
  • Narcolepsy: to confirm diagnosis and determine the severity before stimulant therapy.
  • Insomnia with daytime sleepiness.
  • Circadian rhythm disorders
Consists of 4-5 naps at 2 hour intervals conducted in the daytime commencing 1.5-3 hours after waking from the PSG.

A mean sleep latency of <5 minutes and 2 or more naps with REM sleep.


Scoring and Interpretation


treatment of narcolepsy
Tx of Daytime Sleepiness

Stimulants are working to increase the availability of NE/DA

Largest doses should be given 1 – 2 hours before the periods of maximum sleepiness





Tx of Cataplexy/Hallucinations


Venlafaxine (Effexor)


GHB (Xyrem)

Treatment of Narcolepsy
  • Sleep hygiene
  • Optimizing the amount of sleep
  • If able, regularly schedule naps during the day (if restorative)

Patient Scenario #4

A 30 year old Female is referred for complaints of inability to sleep for more than 10 years. The patient reports it usually takes her 2 to 3 hours to fall asleep after going to bed. She also finds herself awakening 3 to 4 times during the night. She reports that it takes at least 30 minutes to fall back asleep after each awakening. Alcohol and over the counter medications sometimes helped. During the day, fatigue, but not definite sleepiness was noted. Her husband denied that she snores, kicks, or jerks during sleep.


Sleep onset insomnia


Sleep maintenance insomnia

Early morning awakening

Non-restorative sleep

common causes of insomnia

Acute (adjustment sleep disorder)



Sleep state misperception

Sleep disorders (sleep apnea, PLMD, RLS)

Psychiatric disorder(depression, panic attacks)

Inadequate sleep hygiene

Environmental sleep disorder

Drugs (nicotine, ethanol, caffeine)

Medical conditions/medications

Fibromyalgia and chronic pain syndromes

COPD and other respiratory disorders

Medications (beta blockers, theophylline)

Circadian disorders

Delayed sleep phase syndrome

Advance sleep phase syndrome

Shift work or jet lag syndrome

Common Causes of Insomnia

Primary Insomnia Secondary Insomnia

insomnia history
Nature and Duration of problem

Sleep habits

Time in bed, lights out, sleep onset, wake time

Bedroom environment

Timing and duration of naps

Changes on weekends

Effects of a new sleep environment (vacation)

Medication/beverage history

Symptoms of depression. History of leg jerks, restless leg syndrome, snoring, apnea

Insomnia History

Diagnosis of the cause of Insomnia based on:

  • Careful History
  • Review of Patient’s sleep diary
  • PSG: Typically normal and may not be beneficial unless there’s a suspicion of another underlying sleep disorder
  • Or
  • Insomnia is severe and doesn’t respond to empiric therapy.
treatments for insomnia
Treatments for Insomnia
  • Optimize sleep hygiene
  • Behavioral techniques

relaxation therapy

stimulus control therapy

Sleep restriction therapy

Cognitive behavioral treatment

  • Combined behavioral and pharmacological treatment


BZ receptor agonists (ie ambien, sonata)

  • Sedating anti-depressants
patient scenario 4a
Patient Scenario #4A

-Same as previous patient. She averages 4 hours/night of sleep with EDS

-On weekends able to sleep in and get 7 to 8 hours of sleep and awake feeling refreshed.

sleep disorders associated with alterations in circadian rhythm
Sleep Disorders Associated with Alterations in Circadian Rhythm
  • Delayed sleep phase syndrome
  • Advance sleep phase syndrome
  • Time zone change (jet lag) syndrome
  • Shift work sleep disorder
  • Irregular sleep wake pattern
  • Non-24-hour sleep –wake disorder
Circadian rhythms are generated by an internal pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus
  • The main role of the SCN is to synchronize bodily functions with the light – dark cycle.
diagnosis history sleep diary

Diagnosis: History Sleep Diary


Chronotherapy (progressive phase delay)

Bright light therapy


Short-acting hypnotics

Parasomnias: A motor, verbal, or experiential phenomenon that occurs during sleep and is often undesirable
differential diagnosis of unusual behavior associated with sleep
Differential Diagnosis of Unusual Behavior Associated With Sleep

Diagnosis Usual Sleep Stage

Normal Sleep Phenomena

Sleep starts (hypnic jerks) Sleep onset

Nightmares (REM anxiety attacks) REM>>NREM


Sleep walking (somnabulism) NREM

Sleep terrors NREM

Confusional arousal NREM

Sleep talking (somniloquy) NREM and REM

REM behavior disorder REM

Parasomnia overlap disorder NREM and REM

Bruxism NREM (stage 2)

Enuresis NREM and REM (random)


Psychiatric Disorders

Panic attacks NREM (transition stage 2 to stage 3)

Posttraumatic stress syndrome REM and NREM

Seizure Disorders

Nocturnal seizures NREM>Wake>REM

Possible seizure Disorders

Nocturnal paroxysmal dystonia

Episodic nocturnal wandering