Sleep paralysis during naptime as initial symptom of narcolepsy
Introduction. Narcolepsy is a disease of unknown etiology, with a very low prevalence (0.02-0.16% in adults, although it must be higher, given the underdiagnosis), characterized by the presence of excessive daytime sleepiness, hypnagogic and/or hypnopompic hallucinations, sleep paralysis and/or cataplexy (if present, we speak of type 1 narcolepsy and, if not, type 2 narcolepsy), whose average diagnostic delay is between 10 and 15 years.
Case report. A 16-year-old male who consulted after visiting different specialists for presenting sleep paralysis during naps, which cause him fear and occasional objects falling from his hands (diagnosed as possible myoclonus). In the anamnesis we were surprised by the presence of sleep paralysis immediately after the start of the naps and, in the directed anamnesis, these sudden movements caused by emotions were compatible with cataplexies, so we performed a nocturnal polysomnographic study and a multiple sleep latency test. With evolution came hypnopompic hallucinations and fragmented nocturnal sleep, as well as occasional daytime sleepiness (thus completing the typical symptomatic tetrad of type 1 narcolepsy with cataplexy).
Conclusion. Knowledge of this disease is important, considering it as a differential diagnosis in patients with episodes of intractable sleepiness, send these patients to expert doctors in sleep disorders and doing a good anamnesis, performing the necessary complementary tests for the diagnosis of this underdiagnosed disease for its correct management, which is decisive for improving the quality of life of these patients.
Key words. Cataplexy. Hallucinations. Multiple sleep latency test. Narcolepsy. Nocturnal polysomnogram. Sleep paralysis.