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Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 1999 Mar-Apr;41(5):341-54.

The behavioral morbidity of obstructive sleep apnea.

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Sleep Disorders and Research Center, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI 48202, USA.


The behavioral morbidity associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) includes symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), neurocognitive deficits, psychological problems, and possibly an increased chance of accidents. EDS is among the most frequently reported symptoms in patients diagnosed with OSA. The available data suggest that the primary cause of EDS is sleep fragmentation. The subjective measures of sleepiness include the sleep wake activity inventory and the epworth sleepiness scale. Sleepiness can also be evaluated objectively in the sleep laboratory using the multiple sleep latency test or the maintenance of wakefulness test. The neurocognitive manifestations of OSA include impairments in vigilance, concentration, memory, and executive function. There is no agreed on consensus as to how to best quantify neurocognitive deficits in this population. Symptoms consistent with depression or personality changes have also been described, but are likely to be correlates of EDS and/or the chronicity of the disorder. Manifestations of the behavioral morbidity of OSA are reversible, but dependent on the degree of normalization in sleep-disordered breathing and the individual's sleep habits.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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