Sleep-related breathing disorders in chiari malformation type 1: A prospective study of 90 patients

Alex Ferre, Maria A. Poca, Maria D. De La Calzada, Dulce Moncho, Odile Romero, Gabriel Sampol, Juan Sahuquillo

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Study objective: The aim of the present study is to describe the prevalence of sleep disorders in a large group of patients with Chiari malformation type 1 (CM-1) and determine the presence of risk factors associated with these abnormalities. Methods: Prospective study with consecutive patient selection. We included 90 adult patients with CM-1, defined by the presence of a cerebellar tonsillar descent (TD) =3 mm. Clinical, neuroradiological studies, and nocturnal polysomnography (PSG) was carried out. In addition, patients were also subclassified into 2 CM subtypes: CM-1, with the obex above the foramen magnum (FM) and CM-1.5, in which along with a TD =3 mm, the obex was located below the FM. Results: We observed a high prevalence (50%) of sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBDs) with predominant hypopnea. Only six patients showed a central apnea index of =5. Hypoventilation was observed in only three patients. SRBD severity was associated with male sex, older age, excess weight, and the presence of hydrocephalus. No differences in clinical or PSG parameters were found when comparing CM subtypes (CM-1 and CM-1.5). Sleep architecture study showed decreased sleep efficiency with an increase in arousal and waking after sleep onset. The presence of SRBDs was found to be associated with poorer sleep architecture parameters. Conclusions: This study confirms a high prevalence of SRBDs in patients with CM-1 and CM-1.5, with a predominant obstructive component. Nocturnal PSG recordings should be systematically conducted in these patients, especially those who are male, older, or overweight or those who present hydrocephalus.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Chiari malformation type 1
  • Chiari malformation type 1.5
  • Craniovertebral junction malformation
  • Sleep apnea
  • Sleep disorders
  • Sleep-related breathing disorders


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