Cyclic Alternating Pattern : Implications for Insomnia

불면증에서 순환교대파형의 의미

  • Received : 2010.10.27
  • Accepted : 2010.12.01
  • Published : 2010.12.31


The cyclic alternating pattern (CAP) is a periodic EEG activity in NREM sleep, characterized by sequences of transient electrocortical events that are distinct from background EEG activities. A CAP cycle consists of two periodic EEG features, phase A and subsequent phase B whose durations are 2-60 s. At least two consecutive CAP cycles are required to define a CAP sequence. The CAP phase A is a phasic EEG event, such as delta bursts, vertex sharp transients, K-complex sequences, polyphasic bursts, K-alpha, intermittent alpha, and arousals. Phase B is repetitive periods of background EEG activity. The absence of CAP more than 60 seconds or an isolated phase A is classified as non-CAP. Phase A activities can be classified into three subtypes (A1, A2, and A3), based on the amounts of high-voltage slow waves (EEG synchrony) and low-amplitude fast rhythms (EEG desynchrony). CAP rate, the percentage of CAP durations in NREM sleep is considered to be a physiologic marker of the NREM sleep instability. In insomnia, the frequent discrepancy between self-reports and polysomnographic findings could be attributed to subtle abnormalities in the sleep tracing, which are overlooked by the conventional scoring methods. The conventional scoring scheme has superiority in analysis of macrostructure of sleep but shows limited power in finding arousals and transient EEG events that are major component of microstructure of sleep. But, it has recently been found that a significant correlation exists between CAP rate and the subjective estimates of the sleep quality in insomniacs and sleep-improving treatments often reduce the amount of CAP. Thus, the extension of conventional sleep measures with the new CAP variables, which appear to be the more sensitive to sleep disturbance, may improve our knowledge on the diagnosis and management of insomnia.