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Multiple Sclerosis International
Volume 2013, Article ID 286581, 7 pages
Clinical Study

Fatigue and Sleep-Disordered Breathing in Multiple Sclerosis: A Clinically Relevant Association?

1Department of Neurology, University Hospital Zurich, Frauenklinikstraße 26, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland
2Department of Neurology, Kamillus-Klinik, Hospitalstrasse 6, 53567 Asbach, Germany
3Department of Neurology, University of Bern, Inselspital, Freiburgstrasse 10, 3010 Bern, Switzerland

Received 12 June 2013; Revised 30 August 2013; Accepted 11 September 2013

Academic Editor: Francesca Bagnato

Copyright © 2013 Ulf Kallweit et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Fatigue in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) is highly prevalent and severely impacts quality of life. Recent studies suggested that sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) significantly contributes to fatigue in MS. Study Objective. To evaluate the importance of routine respirography in MS patients with severe fatigue and to explore the effects of treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Patients and Methods. We prospectively assessed the presence of severe fatigue, as defined by a score of ≥5.0 on the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), in 258 consecutive MS patients. Ninety-seven patients (38%) suffered from severe fatigue, whereof 69 underwent overnight respirography. Results. We diagnosed SDB in 28 patients (41%). Male sex was the only independent associate of SDB severity ( ). CPAP therapy in 6 patients was associated with a significant reduction of FSS scores ( versus , ), but the scores remained pathological (≥4.0) in all patients. Conclusion. Respirography in MS patients with severe fatigue should be considered in daily medical practice, because SDB frequency is high and CPAP therapy reduces fatigue severity. However, future work is needed to understand the real impact of CPAP therapy on quality of life in this patient group.