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1.  Morbidity in nocturnal asthma: sleep quality and daytime cognitive performance. 
Thorax  1991;46(8):569-573.
Most patients with asthma waken with nocturnal asthma from time to time. To assess morbidity in patients with nocturnal asthma nocturnal sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, and daytime cognitive performance were measured prospectively in 12 patients with nocturnal asthma (median age 43 years) and 12 age and intellect matched normal subjects. The median (range) percentage overnight fall in peak expiratory flow rate (PEF) was 22 (15 to 50) in the patients with nocturnal asthma and 4 (-4 to 7) in the normal subjects. The patients with asthma had poorer average scores for subjective sleep quality than the normal subjects (median paired difference 1.1 (95% confidence limits 0.1, 2.3)). Objective overnight sleep quality was also worse in the asthmatic patients, who spent more time awake at night (median difference 51 (95% CL 8.1, 74) minutes), had a longer sleep onset latency (12 (10, 30) minutes), and tended to have less stage 4 (deep) sleep (-33 (-58, 4) minutes). Daytime cognitive performance was worse in the patients with nocturnal asthma, who took a longer time to complete the trail making tests (median difference 62 (22, 75) seconds) and achieved a lower score on the paced serial addition tests (-10 (-24, -3)). Mean daytime sleep latency did not differ significantly between the two groups (2 (-3, 7) minutes). It is concluded that hospital outpatients with stable nocturnal asthma have impaired sleep quality and daytime cognitive performance even when having their usual maintenance asthma treatment.
PMCID: PMC463276  PMID: 1926025
2.  Is nocturnal asthma caused by changes in airway cholinergic activity? 
Thorax  1988;43(9):720-724.
A randomised, double blind, placebo controlled crossover trial of high dose nebulised ipratropium was carried out in 10 asthmatic patients with documented nocturnal bronchoconstriction. Patients received nebulised saline or ipratropium 1 mg at 10 pm and 2 am on two nights. Absolute peak flow (PEF) rates were higher throughout the night after the patients had received ipratropium (at 2 am, for example, mean (SEM) PEF was 353 after ipratropium and 285 l/min after placebo). The fall in PEF overnight, however, was similar with ipratropium and placebo. Patients were given a further 1 mg nebulised ipratropium at 6 am on both nights. There was a significant overnight fall in PEF on the ipratropium night even when comparisons were made between the times that maximal cholinergic blockade would be expected, PEF falling between 11.30 pm and 7.30 am from 429 to 369 l/min. The percentage increase in PEF, though not the absolute values, was greater after ipratropium at 6 am than at 10 pm. These results confirm that ipratropium raises PEF throughout the night in asthmatic patients, but suggest that nocturnal bronchoconstriction is not due solely to an increase in airway cholinergic activity at night.
PMCID: PMC461462  PMID: 2973665
3.  Effect of sleep deprivation on overnight bronchoconstriction in nocturnal asthma. 
Thorax  1986;41(9):676-680.
Nocturnal cough and wheeze are common in asthma. The cause of nocturnal asthma is unknown and there is conflicting evidence on whether sleep is a factor. Twelve adult asthmatic subjects with nocturnal wheeze were studied on two occasions: on one night subjects were allowed to sleep and on the other they were kept awake all night, wakefulness being confirmed by electroencephalogram. Every patient developed bronchoconstriction overnight both on the asleep night, when peak expiratory flow (PEF) fell from a mean (SE) of 418 (40) 1 min-1 at 10 pm to 270 (46) 1 min-1 in the morning, and on the awake night (PEF 10 pm 465 (43), morning 371 (43) 1 min-1). The morning values of PEF were, however, higher (p less than 0.1) after the awake night and both the absolute and the percentage overnight falls in PEF were greater when the patients slept (asleep night 38% (6%), awake night 20% (4%); p less than 0.01). This study suggests that sleep is an important factor in determining overnight bronchoconstriction in patients with nocturnal asthma.
PMCID: PMC460429  PMID: 3787554

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