The Prevalence and Implications of Sleep Apnea in Acute, Traumatic Tetraplegia

Principal Investigator: Stephen Burns, M.D.
University of Washington Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
Funding Source: National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research

Persons with chronic tetraplegia have a prevalence of sleep apnea that is 10 times greater than the general population. There is evidence that atypical risk factors are involved, treatment is more difficult, and the health consequences may be more severe in this population. The prevalence of sleep apnea in acute spinal cord-injured patients has not been determined. Untreated sleep apnea in acute tetraplegia patients has the potential to adversely affect participation in rehabilitation and adjustment to disability. This prospective study will determine the prevalence and implications of sleep apnea in acute traumatic tetraplegic patients undergoing rehabilitation at the Northwest Regional Cord Injury System at Harborview Medical Center.