Continuous motor unit activity syndromes: A video-polysomnographic study

Roberto Vetrugno, Rocco Liguori, Federica Provini, Giuseppe Plazzi, Pasquale Montagna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To ascertain the presence of abnormalities of sleep in patients with continuous motor unit activity with and without symptoms of central nervous system involvement. Methods: Five patients with isolated neuromyotonia (Isaacs' syndrome) and 1 patient with Morvan syndrome underwent 24-h videopolysomnographic recording to investigate sleep structure, motor activities and autonomic variables during sleep. Results: Macro- and microstructural organization of sleep and of the attending autonomic variables were substantially normal in patients with Isaacs' syndrome. On the contrary, sleep structure was severely disrupted with subcontinuous dream enactment and hallucinations in the patient with Morvan syndrome. The pattern of the neuromyotonic discharges, however, was not different between the patients with Isaacs' syndrome compared to Morvan syndrome, the EMG discharges persisting throughout the 24 h of recording and affecting wakefulness and sleep equally. Conclusions: Neuromyotonia is compatible with normal organization of sleep. The severe sleep abnormalities observed in Morvan syndrome cannot be simply attributed to the effects of neuromyotonia of peripheral origin. Significance: Even though neuromyotonia is common to both Isaacs' and Morvan syndromes, the two conditions differ significantly in regard to CNS involvement with sleep abnormalities and lumping the two conditions together is not justified on clinical and neurophysiological grounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2533-2541
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005


  • Continuous motor unit activity
  • Morvan syndrome
  • Neuromyotonia
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)


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