E-Pearl of the Week: Catathrenia (Sleep Related Groaning)

November 27, 2012


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November 27, 2012

Catathrenia (Sleep Related Groaning)

Catathrenia, or sleep related groaning, is a rare disorder characterized by irregular sounds occurring only during expiration, particularly during the second half of the night. Catathrenia is laryngeal and has a different sound analysis from snoring, which is guttural. Its pathogenesis may be associated with arousal mechanisms. A polysomnography shows distinctive characteristics from other respiratory disorders and can distinguish episodes of nocturnal groaning similar to seizure semiology. It is important to recognize this condition as the treatment and prognosis are different.


  1. Pevernagie DA, Boon PA, Mariman ANN, Verhaeghen DB, Pauwels RA. Vocalization during episodes of prolonged expiration: a parasomnia related to REM sleep. Sleep Med. 2001; 2: 19-30.
  2. Vetrugno R, Lugaresi E, Plazzi G, Provini F, D'Angelo R, Montagna P. Catathrenia (nocturnal groaning): an abnormal respiratory pattern during sleep. Eur J Neurol. 2007; 14: 1236-1243.

Submitted by Corinne Salanson-Lajos, MD.

Disclosure: Dr. Salanson-Lajos reports no disclosures.

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