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Sleep Measured by Polysomnography in Patients Receiving High-Dose Chemotherapy for Multiple Myeloma Prior to Stem Cell Transplantation

Carol A. Enderlin
Elizabeth Ann Coleman
David Davila
Kathy C. Richards
Susan M. Jegley
Robert L. Kennedy
Julia A. Goodwin
Paula McNatt
Carol B. Stewart
Kimberly Lockhart
Patty J. Reed
ONF 2013, 40(1), 73-81 DOI: 10.1188/13.ONF.73-81

Purpose/Objectives: To describe the objective sleep of patients receiving chemotherapy for multiple myeloma (MM) prior to stem cell transplantation.

Design: A descriptive study with repeated measures.

Setting: An international referral center in an urban area of the southern United States.

Sample: A convenience sample of a subset of 12 patients with MM, recruited from a randomized, controlled trial.

Methods: Objective sleep was assessed using two nights of polysomnography, one obtained before and one after a second cycle of high-dose chemotherapy prior to stem cell transplantation. Demographic and clinical data were obtained through a retrospective chart review.

Main Research Variables: Objective sleep including sleep characteristics, sleep-related respiratory events, and periodic limb movements (PLMs) of sleep.

Findings: Sleep was characterized by a relatively short sleep time, excessive time spent awake after the onset of sleep, and poor sleep efficiency (objective sleep quality). Patients spent more than the expected percent of time in non-rapid eye movement sleep and less in rapid eye movement sleep. Arterial oxyhemoglobin saturation nadirs reflected episodes of low arterial oxygen saturation. PLMs during sleep were in the mildly elevated range.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that patients had poor sleep efficiency (objective sleep quality) and were slightly better sleepers after receiving a second cycle of high-dose chemotherapy. A number of patients also demonstrated obstructive sleep apnea and frequent PLMs.

Implications for Nursing: Findings support the need for additional investigation of sleep in patients with MM, particularly poor sleep efficiency and PLMs. Improving sleep may improve quality of life by decreasing associated symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and depression.

Knowledge Translation: Oncology nurses should consider assessing patients with MM for insomnia symptoms, excessive daytime sleepiness, obstructive sleep apnea, and a history of jerking or kicking their legs when asleep. Those symptoms may suggest the need for additional investigation of a possible sleep disorder, which may negatively influence mood and function.

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