This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final. In the meantime, results have been published in peer-reviewed journals, as listed below.
What is the research about?
Sleep apnea is a common health problem in which the upper airway becomes blocked during sleep. It can cause snoring and disrupt breathing. People with sleep apnea may feel sleepy during the day. They may also have a hard time concentrating. Sleep apnea can make other health problems, like high blood pressure or diabetes, worse.
People who have a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, often have sleep apnea. Bumps or jolts to the head from accidents, combat duty, or other incidents can cause TBI. People with TBI often have headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion, and mood changes. They may also have a hard time remembering things or focusing. Sleep apnea can make TBI symptoms worse and make recovery difficult.
Sleep apnea is treatable once it’s found. In this study, the research team is comparing different ways of screening and diagnosing sleep apnea in patients who are getting treatment for TBI.
Who can this research help?
Results from this study can help doctors who treat TBI and their patients identify sleep apnea so they can treat it.
What is the research team doing?
The research team is working with 259 patients with moderate to severe TBI. All patients are receiving inpatient TBI rehabilitation. First, the team is comparing two ways to screen patients for sleep apnea. All patients wear a wrist band that monitors their sleep. Clinic staff give all patients or their family members three different surveys about symptoms that might mean a patient has sleep apnea. The research team is comparing the survey results and the wrist band results. The team wants to see how well each method works to find people with TBI who are at risk for sleep apnea.
To diagnose sleep apnea, the team is using two types of sleep study—one that uses portable equipment and one that has a technician who monitors the patient’s sleep during the night. All patients in the study get both types of monitoring. The team is looking at the sleep study results to see how well each sleep study type works to identify sleep apnea, including how severe it is, in people getting treatment for TBI.
People with TBI, caregivers, and policy makers worked with the research team to plan the study.
Research methods at a glance
|Design||Observational: cohort study|
|Population||People ages 16 years and older diagnosed with TBI and admitted for inpatient rehabilitation at 6 TBI Model System Centers|
Primary: apnea-hypopnea index
Secondary: scores on STOPBang, Berlin, and MAPI surveys; actigraphy
|Data collection during inpatient rehabilitation for TBI|
Results of This Project
Screening Patients with Traumatic Brain Injuries for Sleep Apnea
Risa Richardson, PhD, explains the importance of her PCORI-funded project that compares two methods to screen for sleep apnea among patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) early in their recovery.
Other Clinical Interventions