Slow-wave activity in sleep apnea patients before and after continuous positive airway pressure treatment: contribution to daytime sleepiness.


STUDY OBJECTIVES To estimate the course of slow-wave activity (SWA), its amount during the night, and its correlation with daytime sleepiness in sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) patients. This study also verified whether continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment also restores a normal pattern of SWA in severe SAS patients. PARTICIPANTS Ten patients with a diagnosis of severe SAS who showed a good clinical response to CPAP after approximately 9 months of treatment were included in this study. These patients were matched for sex and age with 10 control subjects. DESIGN All subjects underwent 1 night of polysomnography (PSG), followed by the multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) the next day. For the SAS patients only, the same procedure was repeated after 9 +/- 0.7 months of CPAP treatment. In addition to traditional scoring of sleep stages, apneas, hypopneas, and microarousals, the SWA, defined as the power in the 0.75- to 4.5-Hz frequency band, was evaluated. RESULTS A positive correlation between SWA of the first cycle and the MSLT (r = 0.56; p = 0.045) was found before treatment. Moreover, SAS patients significantly increased their mean SWA after CPAP treatment in the first (p = 0.024) and second (p = 0.002) sleep cycles and restored a more physiologic decay of SWA across the night. CONCLUSIONS These results suggest that daytime sleepiness in SAS patients may be the result of a lack of SWA during the first part of the night, and show that CPAP restores a more physiologic pattern of SWA across the night.


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