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Sleep Med. 2012 Sep;13(8):1028-32. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2012.06.017. Epub 2012 Jul 26.

Prevalence of and risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome in Brazilian railroad workers.

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  • 1Centro de Estudo Multidisciplinar em Sonolência e Acidentes, São Paulo, Brazil.



This study evaluated the prevalence of, and the risk factors for, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) among Brazilian railroad workers.


Male railroad workers (745) from a railway company in Brazil were analyzed after responding to questionnaires about their demographics, sleep habits, excessive daytime sleepiness (Epworth), and the likelihood of having apnea (Berlin). We also performed polysomnography and measured anthropometric data for all of the railroad workers.


The results showed that 261 (35.03%) of the railroad workers presented with OSAS. These railroad workers were older (OSAS: 38.53±10.08 versus non-OSAS: 33.99±8.92 years), more obese according to body mass index (27.70±4.38 versus 26.22±3.92 kg/m(2)), and employed for a longer period of time (14.32±9.13 years) compared with those without OSAS (10.96±7.66 years). Among those with OSAS, 9.5% were smokers and 54.7% reported alcohol use. The associated risk factors were age (OR=2.51, 95% CI=1.76-3.57), BMI (OR=1.56, 95% CI=1.04-2.34), alcohol use (OR=1.28, 95% CI=0.90-1.81), and a high chance of having sleep apnea, as assessed by the Berlin questionnaire (OR=2.19, 95% CI=1.49-3.21).


The prevalence of OSAS in Brazilian railroad workers was higher than that observed in the general population but similar to that found in the population of the city of São Paulo, Brazil. These results suggest that age, BMI, a high risk of developing apnea through subjective self-reporting (Berlin), and alcohol use are associated with a higher risk of developing OSAS. These data reinforce the need to be more attentive to this population because they have a higher propensity for accidents.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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