NYMC Faculty Publications


Clinical Associations Between Allergies and Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Disturbances

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July 2018




BACKGROUND: Allergic rhinitis, an immunoglobulin E inflammatory condition including nasal congestion, obstruction, sneezing, pruritus, and fatigue symptoms, has significant impact on quality of life and impairs sleep. Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) patients often have normal all-night apnea-hypopnea (AHI) or respiratory-disturbance (RDI) indices on polysomnography (PSG). We hypothesized that the rapid eye motion-respiratory disturbance index (REM-RDI) may be a novel predictor of allergic status. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of 100 patients compared REM-RDI results in 67 allergen-positive patients with 33 nonallergic patients who presented with nasal blockage. Subjects completed STOP-Bang(c), 22-item Sino-Nasal Outcome Test (SNOT-22)(c), and Epworth Sleepiness Scale(c) questionnaires and underwent skin-prick testing (SPT) and PSGs including REM-RDI values. Using multivariate logistic regression models, we evaluated relationships between allergic status and sleep parameters while controlling for possible confounders including body mass index (BMI). RESULTS: Using REM-RDI as the outcome of interest, allergen-positive patients were 3.92 times more likely to have REM-RDI values in a moderate/severe range (>/=15 events/hour); and patients with moderate/severe REM-RDI values were more likely to be allergen positive (p<0.05). Allergic status was not significantly related to all-night AHI, RDI, or REM-AHI. BMI was not significantly related to REM-RDI. STOP-Bang(c) was related to allergy status (p = 0.02) and REM-RDI (p<0.01). Allergic patients had increased REM latency and less total amount of REM. CONCLUSION: We revealed significant bidirectional associations between allergen positivity and increased REM-RDI values independent of BMI, AHI, RDI, and REM-AHI. Allergic inflammation and REM-RDI data may play important roles in diagnosing and treating fatigued SDB patients and as objective perioperative safety and outcomes measures.