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Eur Respir J. 1996 Dec;9(12):2606-11.

Risk of traffic accidents in patients with sleep-disordered breathing: reduction with nasal CPAP.

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  • 1Klinikum der Philipps-Universit├Ąt, Abteilung Poliklinik, Marburg, Germany.

Abstract

Sleepiness whilst driving constitutes a road safety risk. Sleep-related breathing disorders are the most frequent medical cause of daytime sleepiness, and untreated patients with this condition have been shown to be at a higher risk of having accidents while driving. This study addressed the question of the extent to which treatment of sleep-disordered breathing by nasal continuous positive airway pressure (nCPAP) is related to changes in patient's accident risk. Seventy eight male patients requiring treatment of sleep-related breathing disorders with nCPAP were enrolled in the study. The protocol included a questionnaire dealing with alertness-related problems while driving, an 80 min vigilance test, and the Multiple Sleep Latency Test. These baseline evaluations were repeated after 1 year of treatment with nCPAP. Fifty nine patients completed the study. The accident rate was significantly decreased from 0.8 per 100,000 km (untreated) to 0.15 per 100,000 km with nCPAP treatment. Variables that were considered to be likely to increase accident risk (sleeping spells, fatigue, vigilance test reaction time, daytime sleep latency) also improved with treatment. We conclude that treatment of sleep-disordered breathing by nasal continuous positive airway pressure is related to reduction in patient motor vehicle accident rates, probably due to the reversal of excessive daytime sleepiness.

PMID:
8980976
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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