Treatment of sleep disorders after traumatic brain injury

Richard J. Castriotta, Strahil Atanasov, Mark C. Wilde, Brent E. Masel, Jenny M. Lai, Samuel T. Kuna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Study Objectives: Determine whether treatment of sleep disorders identified in brain injured adults would result in resolution of those sleep disorders and improvement of symptoms and daytime function. Methods: Prospective evaluation of unselected traumatic brain injury patients with nocturnal polysomnography (NPSG), multiple sleep latency test (MSLT), Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), and neuropsychological testing including Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT), Profile of Mood States (POMS), and Functional Outcome of Sleep Questionnaire (FOSQ) before and after treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), modafinil (200 mg) for narcolepsy and posttraumatic hypersomnia (PTH), or pramipexole (0.375 mg) for periodic limb movements in sleep (PLMS). Setting: Three academic medical centers. Participants: Fifty-seven (57) adults ≥ 3 months post traumatic brain injury (TBI). Measurements And Results: Abnormal sleep studies were found in 22 subjects (39%), of whom 13 (23%) had OSA, 2 (3%) had PTH, 3 (5%) had narcolepsy, 4 (7%) had PLMS, and 12 had objective excessive daytime sleepiness with MSLT score < 10 minutes. Apneas, hypopneas, and snoring were eliminated by CPAP in OSA subjects, but there was no significant change in MSLT scores. Periodic limb movements were eliminated with pramipexole. One of 3 narcolepsy subjects and 1 of 2 PTH subjects had resolution of hypersomnia with modafinil. There was no significant change in FOSQ, POMS, or PVT results after treatment. Conclusions: Treatment of sleep disorders after TBI may result in polysomnographic resolution without change in sleepiness or neuropsychological function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-144
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 15 2009


  • Brain injury
  • Continuous positive airway pressure
  • Hypersomnia
  • MSLT
  • Narcolepsy
  • Sleep apnea
  • Sleep disorders
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neurology


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