Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is an interstitial lung disease (ILD) characterized by inflammation and progressive scarring of the lung parenchyma. IPF profoundly affects the quality of life (QoL) and fatigue is a frequently disabling symptom. The cause of fatigue is not well understood but patients with IPF often report extremely poor sleep quality and sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBD) that correlate with QoL. IPF patients present alterations in sleep architecture, including decreased sleep efficiency, slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and increased sleep fragmentation. Moreover, sleep related hypoventilation during the vulnerable REM sleep period and obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS) are frequent, but remain usually underdiagnosed. These SRBD in IPF are associated with alterations of the sleep structure, reduction of QoL and increased risk of mortality. In the absence of an effective therapy for IPF, optimizing the QoL could become the primary therapeutic goal. In this perspective the diagnosis and treatment of SRBD could significantly improve the QoL of IPF patients.
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