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Eur Respir J. 2005 Nov;26(5):898-903.

Driving simulator and neuropsychological [corrected] testing in OSAS before and under CPAP therapy.

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  • 1University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Dept of Internal Medicine, Division of Pneumology, Allergology and Sleep Medicine, B├╝rkle-de-la-Camp-Platz 1, 44789 Bochum, Germany. Maritta.Orth@ruhr-uni-bochum.de

Erratum in

  • Eur Respir J. 2006 Jan;27(1):242.


Patients with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) have an increased car accident rate. Investigations on accident frequency are based on case history, insurance reports and driving simulator studies. The present study combines neuropsychological testing of different attention aspects engaged in driving a car and driving simulation to evaluate a suitable instrument for assessing therapeutic effects of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Driving simulator investigation and neuropsychological testing of alertness, vigilance and divided attention were performed in 31 patients with polysomnographically confirmed OSAS (apnoea-hypopnoea index 24.8+/-21.5.h(-1)) before, and 2 and 42 days after initiation of CPAP. Divided attention and alertness improved significantly during CPAP, whereas vigilance remained unchanged. However, accident frequency (OSAS before therapy: 2.7+/-2.0; 2 days after CPAP: 1.5+/-1.4; 42 days after CPAP: 0.9+/-1.3) and frequency of concentration faults (OSAS before therapy: 12.4+/-5.1; 2 days after CPAP: 6.5+/-3.9; 42 days after CPAP: 4.9+/-3.3) decreased in the simulated driving situation after 2 and 42 days of therapy. There was no relation between accident frequency, concentration faults and daytime sleepiness, as measured by the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and polysomnographic or neuropsychological findings, respectively. In conclusion, the present results suggest that driving simulation is a possible benchmark parameter of driving performance in obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome patients.

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