Sleep Apnea Patients Have Greatly Increased Risk of Severe Car Accidents.

Posted on: March 28, 2008

drowsy-driver.jpg   People with obstructive sleep apnea have a markedly increased risk of severe motor vehicle crashes involving personal injury. The study of 800 people with sleep apnea and 800 with a nighttime breathing disorder found that patients with sleep apnea were twice as likely as people without sleep apnea to have a car crash, and three to five times as likely to have a serious crash involving personal injury. Overall, the sleep apnea group had a total of 250 crashes over three years, compared with the 123 crashes in the group without sleep apnea.

  drowsyy-driver-deterent.jpg While many previous studies have shown that sleep apnea patients are not increased risk of car crashes, this study is the first to look at the severity of those crashes. Upon comparison, many of the sleep apnea patients’ crashes involved personal injury, but that some patients had fairly mild sleep apnea were at increased risk car crashes. Based on those findings, it is now considered driving risk when deciding on treatments for patients with mild sleep apnea.

  tired-sleepy-driver.gif The study is the biggest one to combine validated sleep apnea diagnosis through an overnight sleep study called polysonography, with data from insurance records to verify motor vehicles crashes and their severity. In obstructive sleep apnea, the upper airway narrows, or collapses, during sleep. Periods of apnea end with a brief partial arousal that may disrupt sleep hundreds of times throughout the night. Obesity is a major risk factor for sleep apnea            

snoring-smiling-face.jpg This study also found that while in the general population men have more vehicle crashes than women, among sleep apnea patients, men and women actually crash at a similar rate. Although, the issue of treatment is not addressed by this study, data from other groups suggest that crashes related to sleep apnea are preventable.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: