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Indian J Occup Environ Med. 2014 May;18(2):39-47. doi: 10.4103/0019-5278.146887.

Sleep apnea and occupational accidents: Are oral appliances the solution?

Author information

1
Faculty of Dentistry of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
2
Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, Faculty of Dentistry, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Dental practitioners have a key role in the quality of life and prevention of occupational accidents of workers with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS).

AIM:

The aim of this study was to review the impact of OSAS, the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy, and the evidence regarding the use of oral appliances (OA) on the health and safety of workers.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Searches were conducted in MEDLINE (PubMed), Lilacs and Sci ELO. Articles published from January 1980 to June 2014 were included.

RESULTS:

The research retrieved 2188 articles and 99 met the inclusion criteria. An increase in occupational accidents due to reduced vigilance and attention in snorers and patients with OSAS was observed. Such involvements were related to excessive daytime sleepiness and neurocognitive function impairments. The use of OA are less effective when compared with CPAP, but the results related to excessive sleepiness and cognitive performance showed improvements similar to CPAP. Treatments with OA showed greater patient compliance than the CPAP therapy.

CONCLUSION:

OSAS is a prevalent disorder among workers, leads to increased risk of occupational accidents, and has a significant impact on the economy. The CPAP therapy reduces the risk of occupational accidents. The OA can improve the work performance; but there is no scientific evidence associating its use with occupational accidents reduction. Future research should focus on determining the cost-effectiveness of OA as well as its influence and efficacy in preventing occupational accidents.

KEYWORDS:

Continuous positive air pressure; obstructive sleep apnea; occupational accidents; oral appliances; review

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