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Sleep Disordered Breathing and Spinal Cord Injury: Challenges and Opportunities.

Sankari A, Martin JL, Badr MS. Sleep Disordered Breathing and Spinal Cord Injury: Challenges and Opportunities. Current sleep medicine reports. 2017 Dec 1; 3(4):272-278.

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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This paper focuses on the sleep disorders in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI/D), particularly mechanism of sleep disordered breathing (SDB) and challenges in diagnosis and management. Based on a review of recent literatures and studies the paper summarizes some main challenges with respect to management of SDB in patients with SCI; and what are the responsible mechanisms of disease? What are the barriers in diagnosing and treating SDB using standard treatment such as positive airway pressure (CPAP)?. RECENT FINDINGS: Previous studies have shown that most SCI/D patients have SDB with heterogeneity in prevalence mainly related to using different definition or methods of diagnosing SDB, while recent studies using new definition of SDB based on recommended criteria from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and also include the data on effect of SCI/D level on prevalence and describe different type of SDB. Furthermore, recent data describes simplified method of diagnosing SDB by using a combination of home sleep apnea testing and transcutaneous CO2 monitoring. Finally, emerging data has been pointing at strong relationship between SDB and cardiovascular disease including nocturnal hypertension in patients with SCI/D. SUMMARY: The findings indicate that early testing for SDB and associated cardiovascular disease in patients with SCI is recommended and could be beneficial in reduced the high morbidity and mortality in this group of patients with disability. In addition, studies on treatment of other sleep disorders in SCI/D are not available to inform clinical decision making. Understanding the pathophysiology of sleep disorders in SCI/D is critical for the development of new effective therapies. This review provides evidence for best practices; highlights new discoveries for the diagnosis and management of sleep disorders in SCI/D, and discuss challenges and future directions.

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