Objective Our main goals were to assess the incidence of sleep problems in our patients and to improve the awareness of sleep disorders amongst our neurology clinicians. We hoped that our patients with significant sleep-related symptoms would be referred for further objective testing.
Methods We designed a 5-question sleep quality survey to be filled out by each patient seen in our outpatient neurology clinics. The forms were collected for entry and analysis on an Excel spreadsheet program. A response of 2 or 3 (moderate or high chance of having a symptom) for each of the questions 1-4 and a “yes” for question 5 were considered significant symptomology. We compared the incidence of sleep problems between the general clinic and the multiple sclerosis (MS) clinic.
Results Surveys from 1008 patients were analyzed. A large majority (78%) of the neurology patients seen in our clinics was found to have at least one significant sleep related symptom. Most of these patients were not referred for further diagnostic testing by polysomnography (PSG) or for formal evaluation by a sleep clinic.
Conclusions Our data support a well-known notion that neurological patients have a high prevalence of symptoms related to sleep disorders. As neurologists, we ought to include sleep as one of the functions of the brain, and we need to be more diligent in the diagnosis of sleep disorders in our patients. Our future goals include verification of our data with objective evidence from PSG results or formal sleep evaluations.