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Alpha-delta sleep in patients with a chief complaint of chronic fatigue

  [ 106 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • April 3, 1994

Our prospective, standardized cohort study was designed to assess
the presence of alpha wave intrusions during non-rapid eye
movement sleep (alpha-delta sleep) and its relationship to
fibromyalgia, major depression, and chronic fatigue syndrome
(CFS) in patients with a chief complaint of chronic fatigue.
The study group comprised 30 consecutive patients seen at a
university hospital referral clinic for evaluation of chronic
fatigue. All patients had nocturnal polysomnography,
dolorimetric tender point assessment for fibromyalgia, a
comprehensive history, physical, and laboratory evaluation,
and a structured psychiatric interview. Alpha-delta sleep was
identified in 8 of the 30 patients (26%), major depression in
20 (67%), CFS in 15 (50%), and fibromyalgia in 4 (13%). Ten of
the 30 patients (33%) had a primary sleep disorder (sleep
apnea, periodic limb movements, or narcolepsy). Alpha-delta
sleep was not significantly correlated with fibromyalgia, CFS,
major depression, or primary sleep disorders, but was
significantly more common among patients who had chronic
fatigue without major depression. We conclude that primary
sleep disorders are relatively common among patients with
chronic fatigue and must be diligently sought and treated.
Alpha-delta sleep is not a marker of fibromyalgia or CFS, but
may contribute to the illness of nondepressed patients with
these conditions.

Manu P, Lane TJ, Matthews DA, Castriotta RJ, Watson RK, Abeles M

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