Circadian Impairment of Distal Skin Temperature Rhythm in Patients With Sleep-Disordered Breathing: The Effect of CPAP

Martinez-Nicolas A, Guaita M, Santamaría J, Montserrat JM, Rol MÁ, Madrid JA. Sleep. 2017 Jun 1;40(6).

STUDY OBJECTIVES: Our aim was to evaluate the circadian rhythm of distal skin temperature (DST) in sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), its relation to excessive daytime sleepiness and the effect of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) on DST.
METHODS: Eighty SDB patients (53.1 ± 1.2 years old, 27.6% women) and 67 healthy participants (52.3 ± 1.6 years old, 26.9% women) wore a temperature data logger for 1 week. On the last day of that week, SDB patients underwent a polysomnography followed by a Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT), Multiple Sleep Latency Test, and Sustained Attention to Response Task protocol to objectively quantify daytime sleepiness. A subset of 21 moderate to severe SDB patients were treated with CPAP during at least 3 months and revaluated with the same procedure. A nonparametric analysis was performed to characterize DST to assess differences between groups and associations among DST, polysomnography, and daytime sleepiness measures.
RESULTS:  SDB patients showed an unstable, fragmented, flattened, phase-advanced, and less robust DST rhythm as compared to healthy participants. The more severe the SDB, the worse the DST pattern was, as indicated by the correlation coefficient. Sleepiness, according to MWT sleep latencies, was also associated with the higher fragmentation, lower amplitude, and less robustness of the DST rhythm. Treatment with CPAP improved DST pattern regularity and robustness.
CONCLUSION: DST is altered in SDB, exhibiting a direct relationship to the severity of this condition, and improves with CPAP treatment. DST independently correlates with sleepiness, thus, its measurement may contribute to the understanding of the pathophysiology of sleepiness in these patients.