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Volume 13 No. 10
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Accepted Papers

Case Reports

Sleep-Related Rhythmic Movement Disorder and Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Five Adult Patients

Giacomo Chiaro, MD1; Michelangelo Maestri, MD1; Silvia Riccardi, MD1; José Haba-Rubio, MD2; Silvia Miano, MD, PhD1; Claudio L. Bassetti, MD, PhD3; Raphaël C. Heinzer, MD, PhD2; Mauro Manconi, MD, PhD1,3
1Sleep and Epilepsy Center, Neurocenter of Southern Switzerland, Civic Hospital of Lugano, Lugano, Switzerland; 2Center for Investigation and Research in Sleep (CIRS), University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland; 3University Department of Neurology, Inselspital, Bern, Switzerland

Sleep-related rhythmic movements (SRRMs) are typical in infancy and childhood, where they usually occur at the wake-to-sleep transition. However, they have rarely been observed in adults, where they can be idiopathic or associated with other sleep disorders including sleep apnea. We report a case series of 5 adults with sleep-related rhythmic movement disorder, 4 of whom had a previous history of SRRMs in childhood. SRRMs mostly occurred in consolidated sleep, in association with pathological respiratory events, predominantly longer ones, especially during stage R sleep, and recovered in 1 patient with continuous positive airway pressure therapy. We hypothesize that sleep apneas may act as a trigger of rhythmic motor events through a respiratory-related arousal mechanism in genetically predisposed subjects.


Chiaro G, Maestri M, Riccardi S, Haba-Rubio J, Miano S, Bassetti CL, Heinzer RC, Manconi M. Sleep-related rhythmic movement disorder and obstructive sleep apnea in five adult patients. J Clin Sleep Med. 2017;13(10):1213–1217.

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