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Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and neurocognitive dysfunction are commonly observed in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and these daytime functional deficits can be reversed partly or completely with treatment such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Although daytime sleepiness is a possible etiology for neurocognitive dysfunction in OSA patients, EDS is not universally present in all patients with OSA. The objective of this review is to summarize the relationship between neurocognitive function and EDS in OSA, as well as the difference in cognitive domains, improvement, and application of CPAP therapy between patients with and without EDS. Two authors independently searched PubMED/Medline, The Cochrane Library and Scopus through May 27, 2015. Sixty-five articles were included in this review. The literature demonstrated a wide range of neurocognitive deficits in OSA patients with EDS, but no more extensive and complex cognitive domains (eg, executive function) in patients without EDS. However, the current literature had very few studies with large sample sizes and extended follow-up that evaluated the effect of CPAP for OSA in patients with and without sleepiness. CPAP failed to improve cognitive dysfunction in OSA patients without EDS after short-term therapy. The evidence suggests that daytime sleepiness possibly relates to the domain and extent of cognitive impairments in OSA, and CPAP therapy has little effect on the improvement of cognitive deficits in OSA patients without EDS. We recommend that additional prospective studies be performed to further quantify the relationship between neurocognitive function in OSA patients with and without EDS.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.sleep.2016.02.008
View details for PubMedID 27288049