Rating scales for inattention and sleepiness are correlated in adults with symptoms of sleep disordered breathing syndrome, but not in adults with symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Sleep Med. 2004 Mar;5(2):133-5. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2003.10.007.


Background and purpose: To evaluate relationship between sleepiness and inattention/hyperactivity in adult patients presenting with sleepiness or early childhood onset inattention.

Patients and methods: Thirty-eight consecutive adult patients (29 males, nine females, mean age 48.7+/-15.5 years) presenting with snoring and sleepiness; and 18 consecutive adult patients (15 males, three females, mean age 31.9+/-12.2 years) presenting with early childhood onset inattention were administered the Epworth sleepiness scale (ESS) and the attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder rating scale (ADHDRS with AD score measuring inattention and HD score measuring hyperactivity-impulsivity). All sleepy snorers underwent polysomnography (PSG) and multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) the following day.

Results: For the sleepy snorers, significant correlations included AD score with ESS (r = 0.49, P = 0.002 ), and HD score with lowest saturation ( r=-0.36, P = 0.025 ). MSLT or respiratory event index (REI) were not significantly correlated with AD or HD scores or ESS. For the inattentive patients, there were no significant correlations between ESS, AD or HD score.

Conclusions: Scores on rating scales for sleepiness (ESS) and inattention (AD score on the ADHDRS) are not significantly correlated in adults with early childhood onset inattention, but they are significantly correlated in sleepy snorers. Thus, in patients presenting primarily with early childhood onset inattention, sleepiness is not associated with and does not explain the inattention, even though increasing sleepiness and inattention may be associated symptoms in sleepy snorers.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis*
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / diagnosis*
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / etiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electrooculography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / complications*