Why Are Traffic Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents and Work Accidents That Require Attention More Common in Patients with Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea and Car Accidents


You can find many similar of the above video on YouTubeIn patients with sleep apnea, inevitable accidents can be seen due to the feeling of sleepiness or fatigue during all activities that require long-term attention. In a study published a few years ago in the prestigious medical journal "Thorax", it was emphasized that the risk of injury due to traffic accidents is approximately 2 times higher in patients with sleep apnea syndrome. According to this study, as the severity of the disease increases, the risk of accident increases exponentially (3-5 times more risk). In another article published in 2009 and published in the prestigious medical journal "Respiration", it was emphasized that sleep apnea syndrome is a significant risk factor in traffic and work accidents, and the individual risks, economic and legal effects of this situation were discussed.

Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and University of British Columbia researchers found that patients with sleep apnea were 3-5 times more likely to have a car accident resulting in serious injury. The study revealed an increased risk of serious accidents, even in patients with mild sleep apnea.

sleep apnea, car accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, traffic accidents
The Chernobyl nuclear accident and the American space shuttle Challenger fall, which occurred in Russia and caused by the control officer falling asleep, are known accidents caused by sleep apnea syndrome. Today, CPAP and BIPAP machines, which can operate by taking power from the cigarette lighter of the car during long travel breaks, have been produced especially for patients who have to use a long drive (such as truck drivers). These people may fall asleep suddenly while behind the wheel. Long-distance drivers, who are entrusted with their own and many people's lives, must be tested for sleep apnea while obtaining a license. If portable cpap machines (travel cpap device) are used even for a short time, it can contribute to increase blood oxygen levels, increase brain oxygenation, and decrease oxidative stress products associated with sleep apnea in patients during rest. Therefore, it may be appropriate for patients with long-distance driving and obstructive type sleep apnea to use at least such a device in consultation with a physician. The sleep test (polysomnography - PSG) is the gold standard diagnostic tool in the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea. If you are diagnosed with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, long journeys using a car can be dangerous (driving more than 5 hours, especially driving an automatic gearbox).

People with epilepsy and sleep apnea are not licensed in Western countries!

People with epilepsy and sleep apnea are definitely not licensed in Western countries. Especially long-distance drivers should definitely have a sleep apnea test under hospital conditions, and a license should be given according to the result.

As far as I know, there is actually no law in the USA that requires truck drivers to be screened specifically for sleep apnea. This requirement was proposed as a new law, but the Trump administration cut regulations for many industries and this sleep apnea testing law was lifted. However, a medical examination is required to confirm a drive's CDL. For people at risk of obesity and sleep apnea, this is where the head is confusing: "When contacting a healthcare facility authorized to determine the potential risk for sleep apnea. If the examiner determines that he or she is at high risk for sleep apnea based on reported symptoms or a high Body Mass Index (BMI)." may insist on testing for sleep apnea. If you are diagnosed with moderate to severe sleep apnea, it means that you can no longer drive safely and will suspend your CDL until you seek treatment to manage the condition. "


Murat Enoz, MD, Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgeon - ENT Doctor in Istanbul

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