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Single Question Can Help Evaluate Over-Sleepy Patients

Asking patients to rate their sleepiness on a scale of zero to 10 accurate for screening purposes

TUESDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- Asking patients to rate their daytime sleepiness on a scale from zero (none) to 10 (high) is an effective screening tool that can be easily implemented in a non-specialist setting, researchers report in the April 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Sarah Nath Zallek, M.D., of the Illinois Neurological Institute Sleep Center in Peoria, Ill., and colleagues conducted a study among 303 subjects who completed a subjective sleepiness questionnaire. The subjects were assessed according to the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and their level of daytime sleepiness was also objectively evaluated using the multiple sleep latency test.

Scores from the subjective sleepiness question and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale were highly correlated, whereas Epworth Sleepiness Scores and multiple sleep latency were only significantly correlated at certain cut-off points, the investigators found.

"Neither the subjective sleepiness [tool] nor the Epworth Sleepiness Scale substitutes for the multiple sleep latency test, which measures objective sleepiness and is not an appropriate screening tool," the authors write. "Subjective sleepiness scores at or below 2 and at and above 9 reliably predict normal and abnormal Epworth Sleepiness Scores, respectively. Since the Epworth Sleepiness Score is not commonly used in non-sleep specialized practices, the subjective sleepiness [tool] may serve as a useful screening tool for patients with disorders of sleepiness."

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