Sleep disorders in cystic fibrosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Sleep Med Rev. 2020 Jun;51:101279. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2020.101279. Epub 2020 Feb 19.


Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder that leads to airway mucus accumulation, chronic inflammation, and recurrent respiratory infections - all likely impacting sleep. However, controlled studies of sleep in CF patients are limited, and have shown mixed results. We reviewed all publications on CF and sleep indexed in PubMed, CINAHL, and Scopus through April 2019. In the meta-analysis, we calculated pooled weighted mean differences for sleep quality, sleepiness, oximetry, and polysomnographic (PSG) parameters, using fixed or random-effects models as appropriate. A total of 87 manuscripts were reviewed. Compared to controls, children with CF had lower nighttime oxygen saturation nadirs, decreased sleep efficiency and a higher respiratory event index, with no differences in the percentage of REM sleep. Adults with CF had lower oxygen saturation nadirs, with a trend towards reduced sleep efficiency and no differences in REM sleep. In addition, patients with CF cough more during sleep and experience painful events that interfere with sleep. Actigraphy and questionnaires suggest disturbed sleep and daytime sleepiness. Noninvasive ventilation appears to improve gas exchange and symptoms. We conclude that when sleep is evaluated objectively or subjectively in patients with CF, perturbations are common, emphasizing the importance of their identification and treatment and inclusion as part of routine care. Additional research, with larger sample sizes and standardized outcomes, are necessary.

Keywords: AHI; Actigraphy; Cystic fibrosis; Epworth sleepiness scale; Pittsburgh sleep quality index; Polysomnography; Sleep; Sleep efficiency.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / psychology
  • Humans
  • Oximetry
  • Polysomnography / statistics & numerical data
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications*