Sleep disorders in patients with chronic fatigue

This prospective, cohort study examined the prevalence of sleep

disorders among highly selected patients with chronic fatigue.

On the basis of responses suggestive of sleep pathology on a

screening questionnaire, 59 patients from a university-based

clinic for chronic fatigue who had undergone a medical and

psychiatric evaluation underwent polysomnography. Criteria for

chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) were met by 64% of patients and

those for a current psychiatric disorder were met by 41%.

Overall, 41% of patients had abnormal results for a multiple

sleep latency test and 81% had at least one sleep disorder,

most frequently sleep apnea (44%) and idiopathic hypersomnia

(12%). In comparing patients who did and did not meet CFS

criteria, no significant differences were found in individual

sleep symptoms or sleep disorders. Likewise, symptoms and

sleep disorders were unrelated to psychiatric diagnoses. In

conclusion, chronically fatigued patients with suggestive

symptoms may have potentially treatable coexisting sleep

disorders that are not associated with meeting criteria for

CFS or a current psychiatric disorder.

Buchwald D, Pascualy R, Bombardier C, Kith P

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