Relationship between Kleine-Levin syndrome and upper respiratory infection in Taiwan

Sleep. 2012 Jan 1;35(1):123-9. doi: 10.5665/sleep.1600.


Study objectives: In Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS), new episodes of hypersomnia are often preceded by an acute flu-like syndrome or upper airway infection 3 to 5 days before onset. This study investigated the relationship between the occurrence of mild upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) in the general population and the occurrence and seasonality and hypersomnic episodes in KLS patients.

Design: This investigation was a longitudinal clinical study. Based on data obtained from the National Health Research Institutes between 2006 and 2007, the timing of hypersomnic episodes in 30 KLS patients were compared with calendar reports of URI events, and the results compared with age-matched general Taiwanese population.

Measurements: Clinical symptoms, physical examination, polysomnographic recording, SPECT study, and laboratory tests affirming KLS during both periods of hypersomnic attack and non-attack were collected. Every symptomatic episode was then followed up. The cross-correlation function (CCF) and bivariate correlations analysis were performed to see the relationship between KLS and URIs.

Results: A positive finding of CCF analysis and significant bivariate correlations were found between KLS episodes and URI in the general population (r = 0.456*). In onset of hypersomnia, significant correlations existed among "acute upper respiratory infections" (r = 0.446*), "acute bronchitis and bronchiolitis" (r = 0.462*), and "pharyngitis and nasopharyngitis" (r = 0.548*) subtypes of infections. A positive correlation between higher reports of symptomatic hypersomnia and URI also existed in a given season. A positive nonsignificant trend for "allergic rhinitis" (r = 0.400) was also found.

Conclusion: The agent behind URI or its consequence (such as fever) is associated with increased incidence of KLS episodes and may explain periodic symptomatic recurrences.

Keywords: Kleine-Levin Syndrome; general population peak; recurrent hypersomnia; seasonality; upper respiratory infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kleine-Levin Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Kleine-Levin Syndrome / etiology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Polysomnography
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / complications*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Young Adult