Prevalence and correlates of periodic limb movements in OSA and the effect of CPAP therapy

Rohit Budhiraja, Sogol Javaheri, Milena K. Pavlova, Lawrence J. Epstein, Olabimpe Omobomi, Stuart F. Quan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Scopus citations


    ObjectiveWe sought to assess the prevalence, correlates, and consequences of periodic limb movements of sleep (PLMS) in persons with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the effect (worsening or improvement) of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy on PLMS in a large prospective multicenter randomized controlled trial.MethodsWe performed retrospective analyses of data from the Apnea Positive Pressure Long-term Efficacy Study, a prospective multicenter randomized controlled trial. A total of 1,105 persons with OSA enrolled in this study underwent a polysomnographic investigation at baseline, another one for CPAP titration, and another study 6 months after randomization to either active CPAP or sham CPAP.ResultsOf all participants, 19.7% had PLM index (PLMI) ≥10/hour, 14.8% had PLMI ≥15/hour, 12.1% had PLMI ≥20/hour, 9.3% had PLMI ≥25/hour, and 7.5% had PLMI ≥30/hour. The odds of having a PLMI ≥10 were higher in older participants (odds ratio [OR] 1.03, p < 0.001), men (OR 1.63. p = 0.007), those using antidepressants (OR 1.48. p = 0.048), and those with higher caffeine use (OR 1.01, p = 0.04). After controlling for OSA and depression, PLMS were associated with increased sleep latency, reduced sleep efficiency, and reduced total sleep time. No significant relationships were noted between PLMS frequency and subjective sleepiness (Epworth Sleepiness Scale score) or objective sleepiness (Maintenance of Wakefulness Test). There was no differential effect of CPAP in comparison to sham CPAP on PLMS after 6 months of therapy.ConclusionsPLMS are common in patients with OSA and are associated with a significant reduction in sleep quality over and above that conferred by OSA. Treatment with CPAP does not affect the severity of PLMS.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)E1820-E1827
    Issue number17
    StatePublished - Apr 28 2020

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Clinical Neurology


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