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J Occup Environ Med. 2017 Jun;59(6):502-508. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001008.

Occupation and Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Meta-Analysis.

Author information

UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley (Mr Schwartz); Department of Internal Medicine, Occupational Disease and Hematology, Kyrgyz State Medical Academy, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and School of Public Health, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Almaty, Kazakhstan (Dr Vinnikov); Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco (Dr Blanc), California.



Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) remains a prevalent condition, but its occupational burden is unclear. We carried out a systematic review to characterize the consistency and magnitude of occupational associations with OSA.


We studied OSA within three occupational categories: commercial drivers, organic solvent-exposed workers, other selected occupations. We performed a meta-analysis on the prevalence of OSA among drivers and the risk of OSA associated with solvent exposure.


The pooled OSA prevalence in drivers was 41% (95% confidence interval [CI] 26% to 56%) for apnea hypopnea-index (AHI) is greater than 5, and 15% (95% CI 12% to 19%) for AHI is greater than 15. Exposure to solvents was associated with increased but non-statistically significant risk of OSA: summary relative risk, 2.38 (95% CI 0.89 to 6.32). Evidence of occupational association was inconsistent for other factors.


OSA is common among commercial drivers and potentially associated with occupations involving likely solvent exposure.

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