The prevalence of narcolepsy in Catalunya (Spain)

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Previous studies have estimated an overall prevalence for narcolepsy between 15 and 70 cases per 100 000 inhabitants. We aimed to estimate the prevalence of narcolepsy in Catalunya (Catalonia), a north-east region of Spain (7 424 754 inhabitants), on 31 December 2014 by identifying all living subjects diagnosed with narcolepsy. First, we identified patients diagnosed by one of the 13 sleep, paediatric or neurological departments that perform tests regularly to diagnose narcolepsy. In a second phase, we searched for additional patients with narcolepsy in a clinical database of the primary health-care system. Clinical files were reviewed and narcolepsy diagnosis validated according to the Brighton Collaboration case definitions. Three hundred and twenty-five patients had a validated diagnosis of narcolepsy in the specialized centres (mean age: 44.6 years, range: 6–89; male: 60.3%; 85% with narcolepsy type 1), including 17.8% cases in Brighton, definition level 1, 62.5% in level 2, 15.4% in level 3 and 4.3% in level 4a. The overall prevalence for narcolepsy was 4.4; 3.7 for narcolepsy type 1 and 0.7 cases per 100 000 inhabitants for narcolepsy type 2. Fifty-six additional narcoleptic patients were identified in the primary health-care system, increasing the overall prevalence to 5.2 cases per 100 000 inhabitants. Prevalence rates for narcolepsy type 1 increased from childhood to adulthood, but in subjects aged more than 50 years there was a substantial drop in prevalence rates, suggesting the presence of a significant pool of undiagnosed cases in this population. Narcolepsy can be considered a rare neurological disorder in Catalunya.

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