Newly Detected Rapid Eye Movement Associated Sleep Apnea After Coronavirus Disease 2019 as a Possible Cause for Chronic Fatigue

Two Case Reports

Andreas Rembert Koczulla; Antje Stegemann; Rainer Gloeckl; Sandra Winterkamp; Bernd Sczepanski; Tobias Boeselt; Jan Storre; Michael Dreher


J Med Case Reports. 2021;15(211) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 has become a health problem spreading worldwide with pandemic characteristics since March 2020. Post coronavirus disease 2019 symptoms are more frequent than initially expected, with fatigue as an often-mentioned issue.

Case Presentations: We describe a 32-year-old white male and a 55-year-old white female who suffered from post coronavirus disease 2019 fatigue syndrome. On polysomnography, rapid eye movement associated sleep apnea with an increased hypopnea index during rapid eye movement phases of 36.8 and 19.5 events per hour was found. Based on the patients' burdensome fatigue symptoms, we initiated automatic positive airway pressure therapy, which diminished sleep apnea (rapid eye movement index: 0.0 in both patients) and, consequently, also the fatigue symptoms.

Conclusions: Since sleep apnea and coronavirus disease 2019 are both associated with fatigue, a screening for sleep apnea might be considered in coronavirus disease 2019 patients with fatigue syndrome.