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Vol. 57. Issue 10.
Pages 654 (October 2021)
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Vol. 57. Issue 10.
Pages 654 (October 2021)
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Catathrenia – A Rare But Disturbing Sleep Disorder
Catatrenia: un trastorno del sueño poco común pero perturbador
Denny Marques Rodrigues
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Corresponding author.
, Margarida Pimenta Valério, Teresa Costa
Pulmonology Department, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
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Catathrenia is a rare, sleep-related respiratory condition characterized by irregular groans, during a prolonged expiratory phase. Its origins remain unknown and the long-term prognosis unexplained. Treatment with continuous-positive-airway-pressure (CPAP) has been the approach with the most satisfactory results, improving catathrenia and quality of life.1,2

Video 1.

Recording of the cardiorespiratory sleep study showing a long apnea period with synchronous groan sound (Catathrenia).


Male, 27 years-old, military, without any pathological condition. Referred to sleep pathology consultation due to daytime fatigue and episodes of waking up with suffocation sensation. His roommates described and recorded groan emission during the sleep. Epworth sleep scale of 14/24.

A cardiorespiratory sleep study with synchronous sound recording was made (Video 1) while waiting conditions for level 1 polysomnography (due to the SARS-CoV2 pandemic).

The study counted an apnea-hypopnea-index of 13.9/h (26.9/h in supine) with 80 central, 5 mixed and 4 obstructive apneas and 8 hypopneas. The Oxygen-desaturation-index was 2.3/h. Roncopathy was present in 19.9% of the study time. Audio study showed groans compatible with catathrenia, and we assumed that the events described as central would, in reality, result from the physiological process leading to catathrenia.

The patient started treatment with auto-CPAP, later adjusted to CPAP, showing good adherence, with improvement in daytime tiredness and a marked reduction in the intensity of the sounds emitted.

Appendix A
Supplementary Data

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J. Alonso, M. Camacho, D.K. Chhetri, C. Guilleminault, S. Zaghi.
Catathrenia (nocturnal groaning): a social media survey and state-of-the-art review.
J Clin Sleep Med, 13 (2017), pp. 613-622
T. Gómez, A. Casal, M. De Miguel, P.C. del, P.R. Rodríguez, M.F.T. Acevedo, et al.
Catathrenia resolved with the lowest CPAP pressure settings.
Pulmonology, 26 (2020), pp. 107-110
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