Microsleep as a marker of sleepiness in obstructive sleep apnea patients

E. Morrone, N. D'Artavilla Lupo, R. Trentin, F. Pizza, I. Risi, S. Arcovio, F. Fanfulla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We hypothesized that: (a) the presence of microsleep (MS) during a Maintenance Wakefulness Test (MWT) trial may represent a reliable marker of sleepiness in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients; (b) the number of MSs will be higher in sleepy versus non-sleepy patients with a borderline MWT mean sleep latency; and (c) scoring MS during MWT analysis may help physicians to recognize patients with a higher degree of sleepiness. We analysed the MWT data of 112 treatment-naive OSA patients: 20 with short sleep latency (SL, sleep latency <12.8 min), 43 with borderline latency (BL, sleep latency between 12.8 and 32.6 min) and 49 with normal latency (NL, sleep latency >32.6 min). Microsleep was identified in all SL, in 42 BL and in 18 NL patients, with a median latency of 5.6 min. Accordingly, patients were classified into two subgroups: group A (n = 43) with microsleep latency <5.6 min and group B (n = 69) with microsleep latency >5.6 min when present. The mean sleep latency in the MWT was 14.5 +/- 7.5 min in group A and 34.6 +/- 7.4 min in group B (p < 0.0001). The number of microsleep episodes during each MWT trial was higher in group A than in group B. Sleep latency survival curves demonstrated different patterns of sleep latency in these groups (log-rank test <0.0001). This finding was confirmed in a Cox proportional hazard analysis: the presence of a mean MS latency MWT (RR, 1.93; 95 CI 1.04-3.6; p = 0.03). We conclude that the detection of microsleep may help in discriminating OSA patients with and without daytime vigilance impairment.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12882
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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