ICJR Interviews: Rotator Cuff Surgery Relieves Sleep Disturbances

    Nearly everyone experiences sleep disturbance at some point. For patients with rotator cuff tears, it's more than a night or 2 of lost sleep – it's a serious issue that can affect sleep quality for months or years.The good news, according to a prospective study from The Rothman Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is that surgical repair significantly improves sleep quality in this patient population.

    Luke S. Austin, MD, and his colleagues enrolled 56 consecutive patients who were scheduled for arthroscopic repair of full-thickness rotator cuff tears in the study.

    To assess sleep, they administered the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), a validated and standardized test, preoperatively and 2, 6, 12, 18, and 24 weeks and 2 years postoperatively. The PSQI is a point scale from 0 to 21, with 5 and above indicating poor sleep quality.

    Dr. Austin said 90% of patients in the Rothman study scored above 5 preoperatively. By 3 months after surgery, he and his colleagues saw significant improvements in sleep, and by 6 months, patients had sleep levels comparable to the general population. This was sustained through the 2-year follow-up.

    Interestingly, use of opioids preoperatively or for more than 6 weeks postoperatively was a predictor of poor sleep. Dr. Austin said patients who used opioids fell asleep initially, but were unable to maintain that sleep throughout the night.

    Click the image above to hear Dr. Austin’s comments on the study, “Sleep Disturbance Following Rotator Cuff Repair: A Prospective Two-Year Investigation” (Paper 350), which was presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in Orlando.

    Producer: Susan Doan Johnson; Director and Post Production: Charles J. Maynard