Paralyzed and unable to breathe

Hrayr P. Attarian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter discusses the case of a 56-year-old man who presented to the sleep clinic complaining of frequent episodes of feeling paralyzed as he was going to sleep. It presents the clinical history, examination, follow-up, treatment, diagnosis, and the results of the procedures performed on the patient. Examination revealed a pleasant, thin, middle-aged man, in no acute distress, who looked younger than his stated age. Based on the history, the diagnosis of isolated or familial sleep paralysis was made and the patient was started on clomipramine 25 mg at bedtime. Differential diagnosis includes narcolepsy if excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is present or a history of hypnic hallucinations and cataplexy can be elicited. Although daytime sleepiness is necessary to make the diagnosis of narcolepsy, sleep paralysis can also occur in other conditions that present with daytime sleepiness such as sleep deprivation, sleep-related breathing disorder and idiopathic hypersomnia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCase Studies in Sleep Neurology
Subtitle of host publicationCommon and Uncommon Presentations
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780511902505
ISBN (Print)9780521146487
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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