Characteristics of patients with rapid eye movement-related obstructive sleep apnea: a retrospective review of 52 patients at a tertiary care center

Muhannad Hawari, Mohamad Gayath Jamil, Sanaa Hemideh, Ayman Alharbi


Background: The term “rapid eye movement (REM)-related obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)” is commonly used to describe sleep disordered breathing that occurs exclusively in REM sleep. The prevalence of REM-related OSA ranges from 10% to 36%. Despite the presence of reports describing the features of REM-related OSA, there is still much more to be known about it.

Methods: In this study we did retrospective review of 734 patients who had a diagnostic sleep study in a sleep lab at a tertiary center between January 2014 and August 2016 were reviewed.

Results: We found that hypertension was found in the charts of 50 patients, 36 of them were diagnosed with hypertension and on medical therapy (72%), 11 patients (out of 50) had diabetes (22%) and 9 (out of 49) had dyslipidemia. 2 patients (out of 49) had Ischemic heart disease (4%), 1 patient (out of 49) had stroke (2%) and 3 patients (out of 49) had arrhythmias (6%). 8 patients (out of 49) had thyroid disease (16%).

Conclusions: In conclusion Most patients had mild REM related OSA and most did not have subjective EDS. Hypertension was the most common comorbidity among our patients.


REM-related OSA, Retrospective review, Comorbidity

Full Text:



Kushida CA, Chediak A, Berry RB, Brown LK, Gozal D, Iber C et al. Clinical Guidelines for the Manual Titration of Positive Airway Pressure in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Positive Airway Pressure Titration Task Force of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 2008;4(2):2008.

Sleep-related breathing disorders in adults: recommendations for syndrome definition and measurement techniques in clinical research. The Report of an American Academy of Sleep Medicine Task Force. Sleep. 1999;22:667-89. Accessed on 02 February 2020.

Somers VK, White DP, Amin R, Abraham WT, Costa F, Culebras A et al. Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Disease, An American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Foundation Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association Council for High Blood Pressure Research Professional Education Committee, Council on Clinical Cardiology, Stroke Council, and Council on Cardiovascular Nursing. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008;52:686-717.

Mokhlesi B, Punjabi NM. REM-related Obstructive Sleep Apnea: An Epiphenomenon or a Clinically Important Entity? SLEEPSleep. 2012;35(1):2012.

Fenik VB, Davies RO, Kubin L. REM sleep-like atonia of hypoglossal (XII) motoneurons is caused by loss of noradrenergic. 2005;172(10):1322-30.

Haba-Rubio J, Janssens JP, Rochat T, Sforza E. Rapid eye movement related disordered breathing: clinical and polysomnographic features. Chest. 2005;128:3350-7.

Resta O, Carpanano GE, Lacedonia D. Gender difference in sleep profile of severely obese patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Respir Med. 2005;99:91-6.

Koo BB, Dostal J, Ioachimescu O, Budur K. The effects of gender and age on REM-related sleep-disordered breathing. Sleep Breath. 2008;12:259-64.

Koo BB, Patel SR, Strohl K, Hoffstein V. Rapid eye movement-related sleep-disordered breathing: influence of age and gender. Chest. 2008;134:1156-61.

O’Connor C, Thornley KS, Hanly PJ. Gender differences in the polysomnographic features of obstructive sleep apnea. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2000;161:1465-72.

Goh DY, Galster P, Marcus CL. Sleep architecture and respiratory disturbances in children with obstructive sleep apnea. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2000;162:682-6.

Chami HA, Baldwin CM, Silverman A. Sleepiness, quality of life, and sleep maintenance in REM versus non-REM sleep-disordered breathing. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010;181:997-1002.

Chervin RD, Aldrich MS. The relation between multiple sleep latency test findings and the frequency of apneic events in REM and non-REM sleep. Chest. 1998;113:980-4.

Findley LJ, Wilhoit SC, Suratt PM. Apnea duration and hypoxemia during REM sleep in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Chest. 1985;87:432-6.