What is the increased risk for auto accidents in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

Updated: Sep 15, 2020
  • Author: Himanshu Wickramasinghe, MD, MBBS; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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An Internet-linked survey of 35,217 respondents found that subjects who reported at least one near-miss sleepy accident were 1.13 times as likely to have had one actual accident compared with subjects not reporting a near-miss accident. [64] The odds ratio increased to 1.87 for those reporting 4 or more near-miss sleepy accidents. This study indicates that asking patients about near-miss sleepy accidents may be predictive of future accident risk.

Predicting accident risk in patients with OSA is difficult because many individuals with OSA do not accurately perceive their level of drowsiness. No evidence indicates that sleep latency derived from either the multiple sleep latency test (MSLT; a measure of sleep propensity) or the maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT; a measure of wake tendency) are predictive of accident risk.

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