Concussion symptoms typically resolve within 7-10 days, but 10%-25% of patients do not fully recover. They can develop post-concussion syndrome (PCS), which includes sleep abnormalities such as obstructive sleep apnea. It is unclear how specific sleep problems manifest in PCS and how it relates to cognition and symptomology.
A retrospective chart review was conducted on PCS patients seen at the University Health Network (UHN) Concussion Clinic and sent for sleep study. Neuropsychology tests, concussion features, PCS symptoms, and demographics were abstracted from clinical charts. Sleep measures were abstracted from the overnight sleep study. Data were analyzed using chi-squared tests and linear regression.
Fifty-one patients completed the sleep study; 78% of these were diagnosed with sleep apnea. Patients with sleep apnea reported significantly more memory symptoms. A trend existed for higher total symptom number. Age was significantly different between the two groups. Women and men were equally at risk of being diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is common in PCS patients complaining of non-restorative sleep and/or waking up with headaches. Sleep apnea was associated with more memory symptoms. PCS patients are at higher risk for sleep apnea and sleep study should be considered if complaining of non-restorative sleep and/or waking up with headaches, regardless of sex and other known risk factors.


Santos A(1)(2), Walsh H(1)(2), Anssari N(2)(3), Ferreira I(4)(5), Tartaglia

Author information:
(1)Tanz Center for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of Toronto,
Toronto, ON M5S 1A8, Canada.
(2)Toronto Western Hospital, Division of Neurology, Toronto, ON M5T 2S8, Canada.
(3)Canadian Concussion Centre, Krembil Neuroscience Center, Toronto, ON M5T 2S8,
(4)Toronto Western Hospital, Asthma and Airway Centre, Toronto, ON M5T 2S8,
(5)Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8, Canada.