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Pediatr Neurol. 2001 Feb;24(2):129-34.

Long-term sleep disturbances in adolescents after minor head injury.

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Sleep Laboratory; Rambam Medical Center and Technion--IIT, Haifa, Israel.


It has been demonstrated that patients in the acute phase after minor head injury (MHI) complain of sleep disturbances. The purpose of the present study was to characterize the long-term effects of MHI on sleep in adolescents. Nineteen adolescents who had suffered MHI 3 years before the study and had complained of sleep disturbances completed a sleep questionnaire and were investigated in the sleep laboratory by whole-night polysomnographic recordings and were actigraphically monitored for 5 days at home. Questionnaire results revealed severe complaints regarding sleep behavior. Polysomnographic recordings revealed that in comparison with controls, MHI was associated with lower sleep efficiency (79.8 +/- [9.8]% vs 87.7 +/- [6.8]%; P < 0.005), with more wake time (10.6 +/- [9.0]% vs 3.4 +/- [4.4]%; P < 0.005), and with more awakenings lasting more than 3 minutes (2.1 +/- [1.5] vs 0.6 +/- [0.8]; P < 0.005). These findings were confirmed by actigraphic monitoring that revealed lower sleep efficiency (90 +/- [5]% vs 94 +/- [3]%; P < 0.05), more minutes of wake time (49 +/- [21] min vs 28 +/- [15] min; P < 0.05), and a trend toward more awakenings longer than 5 minutes (1.8 +/- [0.8] vs 1.2 +/- [0.8]; P = 0.063). Our data demonstrated that 3 years after MHI without any discernible clinical sequel, adolescents still complain of sleep disturbances that could be confirmed by both polysomnographic and actigraphic monitoring.

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