Research Study Abstract

Active at night, sleepy all day – Sleep disturbances in patients with hepatitis C virus infection

  • Published on Dec. 4, 2013

Background & Aims More than 50% of patients with chronic hepatitis C with only mild liver disease complain about chronic fatigue, daytime sleepiness and poor sleep quality. The aim of the present study was to characterize and objectify the sleep disturbances in hepatitis C virus-infected patients.

Methods Twenty-five women who had been infected with hepatitis C virus contaminated anti-D immunoglobulin in 1978/79 and 22 age-matched female healthy controls underwent actigraphy over a period of 5 days to measure motor activity and thereby sleep-wake-rhythm and in addition completed questionnaires for depression, health-related quality of life, fatigue and sleep, and a sleep diary. Liver cirrhosis, a history of neurological or psychiatric disease, history of intravenous drug abuse, shift work, or current medication with effect upon the central nervous system were exclusion criteria.

Results The patients achieved higher scores for depression, fatigue and sleep disturbances and lower quality of life scores than the healthy controls. Actigraphy showed higher nocturnal activity and worse sleep efficiency in the patients, while the 24-h activity level did not differ between groups. Fatigue and quality of life scores correlated with bad sleep quality and daytime sleepiness.

Conclusions Our data indicate that chronic fatigue is associated with bad sleep quality and increased nocturnal activity in HCVinfected patients suggesting an alteration of sleep architecture behind fatigue in HCV-associated encephalopathy.


Journal of Hepatology


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