Brian Boehlecke, MD, MSPH




Assessing the risk of crashes in patients with obstructive sleep apnea

November 24, 2008

ABSTRACT: Patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are at increasedrisk for motor vehicle crashes as a result of excessivesleepiness. However, a number of factors complicate risk assessment.For example, self-reported sleepiness and the severityof OSA do not appear to be good predictors of accident risk.Many persons with OSA do not accurately perceive their levelof drowsiness-self-reported sleepiness does not correlate wellwith objective measures, such as results of the Multiple SleepLatency Test. Moreover, it is not clear whether objective testscan reliably predict accident risk in the real world, as opposedto during simulated driving. The indications for-and benefitsof-restricting driving in patients with OSA have not been established.However, there is good evidence that the use of continuouspositive airway pressure significantly reduces the riskof crashes in these patients. (J Respir Dis. 2008;29(12):459-464)