Fatigue in multiple sclerosis is closely related to sleep disorders: a polysomnographic cross-sectional study

Author(s): Veauthier C, Radbruch H, Gaede G, Pfueller CF, Dörr J, et al.


Background:Sleep disorders can cause tiredness. The relationship between sleep disorders and fatigue in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) has not yet been investigated systematically.

Objective:To investigate the relationship between fatigue and sleep disorders in patients with MS.

Methods:Some 66 MS patients 20 to 66 years old were studied by overnight polysomnography. Using a cut-off point of 45 in the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS), the entire cohort was stratified into a fatigued MS subgroup (n=26) and a non-fatigued MS subgroup (n=40).

Results:Of the fatigued MS patients, 96% (n=25) were suffering from a relevant sleep disorder, along with 60% of the non-fatigued MS patients (n=24) (p=0.001). Sleep-related breathing disorders were more frequent in the fatigued MS patients (27%) than in the non-fatigued MS patients (2.5%). Significantly higher MFIS values were detected in all (fatigued and non-fatigued) patients with relevant sleep disorders (mean MFIS 42.8; SD 18.3) than in patients without relevant sleep disorders (mean MFIS 20.5; SD 17.0) (p<0.001). Suffering from a sleep disorder was associated with an increased risk of fatigue in MS (odds ratio: 18.5; 95% CI 1.6-208; p=0.018).

Conclusion:Our results demonstrate a clear and significant relationship between fatigue and sleep disorders.

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