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High prevalence of severe sleep cycle disruption in de novo acromegaly and underdiagnosis by common clinical screening tools: A prospective, observational, cross-sectional study.

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Annamalai, Anand K 
Moir, Samantha 
Webb, Alison J 
Bala, Laksha 


CONTEXT: Although sleep disordered breathing (SDB) is well-recognised in acromegaly, most studies have reported heterogeneous, often heavily treated, groups and few have performed detailed sleep phenotyping at presentation. OBJECTIVE: To study SDB using the gold standard of polysomnography, in the largest group of newly-diagnosed, treatment-naïve patients with acromegaly. SETTING AND PATIENTS: 40 patients [22 males, 18 females; mean age 54 years (range 23-78)], were studied to: (i) establish the prevalence and severity of SDB (ii) assess the reliability of commonly employed screening tools [Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and overnight oxygen desaturation index (DI)] to detect SDB (iii) determine the extent to which sleep architecture is disrupted. RESULTS: Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), defined by the apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI), was present in 79% of subjects (mild, n = 12; moderate, n = 5; severe, n = 14). However, in these individuals with OSA by AHI criteria, ESS (positive in 35% [n = 11]) and DI (positive in 71%: mild, n = 11; moderate, n = 6; severe, n = 5) markedly underestimated its prevalence/extent. Seventy-eight percent of patients exhibited increased arousal, with marked disruption of the sleep cycle, despite most (82%) having normal total time asleep. Fourteen patients spent longer in stage 1 sleep. Deeper sleep stages were severely attenuated in many subjects (reduced stage 2, n = 18; reduced slow wave sleep, n = 24; reduced rapid eye movement sleep, n = 32). CONCLUSION: Our study provides strong support for clinical guidelines that recommend screening for sleep apnoea syndrome in patients with newly-diagnosed acromegaly. Importantly, however, it highlights shortcomings in commonly recommended screening tools (questionnaires, desaturation index) and demonstrates the added value of polysomnography to allow timely detection of obstructive sleep apnoea and associated sleep cycle disruption.


Publication status: Published


acromegaly, arousal index, polysomnography, sleep apnoea, sleep stages, Male, Female, Humans, Young Adult, Adult, Middle Aged, Aged, Cross-Sectional Studies, Prevalence, Prospective Studies, Acromegaly, Reproducibility of Results, Sleep Apnea, Obstructive, Sleep

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Clin Endocrinol (Oxf)

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UK National Institute for Health Research Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre (NIHR203312)