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What's new in sleep medicine
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What's new in sleep medicine
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
Literature review current through: Sep 2017. | This topic last updated: Oct 04, 2017.

The following represent additions to UpToDate from the past six months that were considered by the editors and authors to be of particular interest. The most recent What's New entries are at the top of each subsection.


CPAP for patients with OSA does not prevent cardiovascular events or death (September 2017)

A recent meta-analysis of 10 randomized trials of patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) reported that compared with no treatment or sham, therapy with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) did not reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events (acute coronary events, stroke, or vascular death) or all-cause death [1]. The lack of benefit was independent of the severity of OSA and the duration of therapy. Despite these results, CPAP should continue to be the mainstay of therapy for OSA with the goal of improving outcomes other than cardiovascular events (eg, symptom relief, avoidance of accidents, blood pressure control). (See "Obstructive sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease in adults", section on 'Impact of treatment'.)

Guideline on obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment in commercial drivers (May 2017)

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has released consensus-based recommendations on screening, diagnosis, and management of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in commercial drivers [2]. The AASM recommends that drivers meeting any of the following high-risk criteria be referred to a sleep medicine specialist for clinical sleep evaluation and diagnostic testing (table 1):

Body mass index (BMI) ≥40 kg/m2

Fatigue or sleepiness during the duty period or involvement in a sleepiness-related crash or accident

BMI ≥33 kg/m2 and either hypertension requiring two or more medications to control or type 2 diabetes

The document also provides guidance on determining when to restrict driving certification based on OSA severity, symptoms, and adherence with positive airway pressure therapy. (See "Drowsy driving: Risks, evaluation, and management", section on 'Special considerations in commercial drivers'.)

Adaptive servoventilation in adults with central sleep apnea and heart failure (April 2017)

A previous randomized trial (SERVE-HF) found that adaptive servoventilation (ASV), a modified method of positive airway pressure ventilation, increased cardiovascular mortality in patients with central sleep apnea (CSA) due to symptomatic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. In the CAT-HF trial, 126 hospitalized patients with heart failure and moderate-to-severe CSA were randomly assigned to ASV plus optimized medical therapy or medical therapy alone [3]. While the trial showed no difference between the groups in a combined endpoint (death, cardiovascular hospitalizations, and timed walk distance), the confidence intervals were wide and there was a suggestion of increased harm in the ASV group (HR 1.06, 95% CI 0.75-1.51). The trial was stopped early, in part due to results of SERVE-HF. Although this limits interpretation of the CAT-HF results, we continue to recommend against use of ASV in patients with CSA and heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. (See "Sleep-disordered breathing in heart failure", section on 'Adaptive servoventilation' and "Central sleep apnea: Treatment", section on 'Patients with ejection fraction ≤45 percent'.)


Pitolisant for cataplexy in adults with narcolepsy type 1 (May 2017)

Pitolisant, a novel histamine H3 receptor inverse agonist, may be an effective treatment for cataplexy as well as daytime sleepiness in patients with narcolepsy. In a randomized trial of 106 adults with narcolepsy type 1, pitolisant was more effective than placebo at reducing weekly cataplexy rates (75 versus 35 percent relative reduction from baseline) and Epworth Sleepiness Scale scores as well as hallucinations and objective sleepiness [4]. Adverse effects were generally mild, aside from one case of severe nausea. Pitolisant has been approved for use in the European Union but is not available in the United States. (See "Treatment of narcolepsy in adults", section on 'Pitolisant'.)


Revised diagnostic criteria for dementia with Lewy bodies (July 2017)

Revised consensus criteria for the clinical diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) have been published [5]. The updated criteria now recognize rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder as a core clinical feature of DLB, along with three previously recognized features: cognitive fluctuations, visual hallucinations, and parkinsonism (table 2). In patients with dementia, probable DLB can be diagnosed in the presence of two or more core clinical features or at least one core feature plus an indicative biomarker (reduced dopamine transporter [DAT] uptake in basal ganglia, abnormal 123-iodine-metaiodobenzylguanidine [MIBG] myocardial scintigraphy, or REM sleep without atonia on polysomnography). (See "Clinical features and diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies", section on 'Clinical features'.)


Complex motor behaviors during REM sleep in children with narcolepsy type 1 (September 2017)

Complex motor behaviors during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep are well described in adults with narcolepsy, but their prevalence in children has not been well documented. In a series of 40 children with narcolepsy type 1 who underwent video polysomnography, nearly one-third of patients exhibited motor behaviors during REM sleep ranging from classic dream enactment (eg, vigorous reaching or throwing movements) to more calm, slow pantomime-like events [6]. Events were more common among children with impaired nighttime sleep, worse daytime sleepiness, and severe cataplexy. (See "Narcolepsy in children", section on 'Other sleep disturbances'.)

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