REM sleep muscle activity in idiopathic REM sleep behavior disorder predicts phenoconversion

Stuart J. McCarter, David J. Sandness, Allison R. McCarter, John C. Feemster, Luke N. Teigen, Paul C. Timm, Bradley F. Boeve, Michael H. Silber, Erik K. St Louis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective To determine whether REM sleep without atonia (RSWA) during polysomnography (PSG) predicts phenoconversion in patients with idiopathic REM sleep behavior disorder (iRBD), a prodromal feature of a neurodegenerative disease. Methods We analyzed RSWA in 60 patients with iRBD, including manual phasic, tonic, and any muscle activity in the submentalis and anterior tibialis muscles and the automated REM atonia index in the submentals. We identified patients who developed parkinsonism or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) during at least 3 years of follow-up after PSG. Kaplan-Meier analysis was performed and receiver operator curves were calculated to determine RSWA cutoffs predicting faster phenoconversion. Results Twenty-six (43%) patients developed parkinsonism (n = 17) or MCI (n = 9). Phenoconverters were older at iRBD diagnosis (p = 0.02). Median time to phenoconversion was 3.9 ± 2.5 years. iRBD phenoconverters had significantly more RSWA at diagnosis. Phenoconversion risk from iRBD diagnosis was 20% and 35% at 3 and 5 years, respectively, with greater risk in patients with iRBD with >46.4% any combined RSWA, which increased further to 30% and 55% at 3 and 5 years for patients >65 years of age at diagnosis. Conclusion sPatients with iRBD with higher amounts of polysomnographic RSWA had a greater risk of developing Parkinson disease or MCI. Patients with older age and higher RSWA amounts had more rapid phenoconversion than younger patients with RBD. Our study suggests that RSWA is a potential biomarker for risk stratification of iRBD phenoconversion that could facilitate prognostication for patients with iRBD.Classification of evidenceThis study provides Class II evidence that for patients with iRBD, increased RSWA correlates with increased risk for developing parkinsonism or MCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1171-E1179
Issue number12
StatePublished - Sep 17 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'REM sleep muscle activity in idiopathic REM sleep behavior disorder predicts phenoconversion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this