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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2007 Nov 15;176(10):954-6. Epub 2007 Sep 6.

Sleep apnea, alertness, and motor vehicle crashes.

Author information

1
University of Western Ontario, London Health Sciences Centre, South Street Hospital, London, ON, Canada N6A 4G5. cgeorge@uwo.ca

Abstract

Sleep apnea causes impairment in performance and is associated with an increased risk of motor vehicle crashes compared with the general population of drivers. Despite this increased risk, the actual number of accidents is still quite low, although the implications are significant in commercial vehicle drivers. It is difficult for physicians to assess risk and ability to drive in many patients with sleep apnea, yet physicians are often mandated to make these assessments with obvious implications for patients. Because many patients may never have a crash, it is not practical or feasible to restrict all untreated patients from driving, unless they operate commercial vehicles. Thresholds of disease severity that prompt driving restriction need to be established for sleep apnea much like they have been for alcohol. Until more data emerge, continued educational efforts about sleep apnea are needed to convince government and insurance organizations to provide appropriate resources for diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea, because apnea risk is minimized with successful apnea treatment.

PMID:
17823357
DOI:
10.1164/rccm.200605-629PP
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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