BACKGROUND: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is commonly found in individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and may exacerbate TBI-related symptoms. Nocturnal polysomnography (NPSG) is considered the gold standard for detecting the presence of sleep apnea. However, there is a limitation with its use known as the 'first-night effect' (aberrant polysomnography findings on the first night in a sleep lab). OBJECTIVE: The primary objectives were to investigate the night-to-night consistency of diagnosing and classifying obstructive sleep apnea in individuals with TBI, and ascertain if individuals with TBI are prone to a first-night effect. METHODS: 47 community-dwelling adults with self-reported mild-to-severe TBI underwent two nights of in-laboratory NPSG to examine variability between the first and second night with regards to OSA diagnosis and severity as well as sleep architecture. RESULTS: OSA detection and severity were consistent from night-to-night in 89% of participants with TBI. Participants with TBI demonstrated longer REM latency on the first night compared to the second night of sleep study. CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that two nights of in-laboratory NPSG are generally consistent in reliably diagnosing OSA in individuals with TBI and that first-night effects are minimal. One night of NPSG has diagnostic utility in the evaluation of sleep disorders in individuals with TBI.
- Traumatic brain injury
- obstructive sleep apnea