Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Patients With Sleep Apnea Should Avoid Driving After Poor Sleep Or Consuming Alcohol

Date:
May 23, 2009
Source:
American Thoracic Society
Summary:
Patients with undiagnosed or untreated obstructive sleep apnea are especially vulnerable to the effects of sleep deprivation and even legal doses of alcohol when it comes to lowered driving performance and increased risk of vehicular accidents, according to new research.

Patients with undiagnosed or untreated obstructive sleep apnea are especially vulnerable to the effects of sleep deprivation and even legal doses of alcohol when it comes to lowered driving performance and increased risk of vehicular accidents, according to new research announced May 19 at the American Thoracic Society's 105th International Conference in San Diego.

Andrew Vakulin, a Ph.D. candidate at the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health, and colleagues investigated the effects of sleep restriction and moderate alcohol exposure on patients with OSA with respect to their performance on a simulated driving task.

Driver sleepiness is already known to contribute to about one in three car accidents, and OSA patients are known to be at greater risk. However, the extent to which OSA exacerbates the effects of normal sleepiness or alcohol consumption on driving ability was not previously known.

"We found that patients with OSA had a significantly poorer performance than their peers without OSA on the driving task after sleep restriction or alcohol exposure, even though the alcohol dose was clearly within the limits imposed by most state laws—about equal to having two drinks for a woman or three for a man over the course of an hour," said Mr. Vakulin.

Patients with OSA were recruited following a standard diagnostic sleep study at the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health prior to commencement of treatment. Healthy volunteers were randomly recruited from the community through newspaper advertisements and were matched by age and sex to the patient group. There were a total of 38 OSA patients and 20 healthy individuals tested.

All subjects completed a 90-minute mid-afternoon simulated driving course after normal sleep (about eight hours), sleep restriction (about four hours) and consumption of alcohol (to blood alcohol levels of approximately 0.05g/dL). The road course simulated a country night-time drive on a predominantly straight dual-lane road with bends occurring at 10 minute intervals, each taking approximately 30 seconds to negotiate. There was no oncoming traffic or traffic lights.

After sleep restriction, individuals with OSA performed significantly more poorly on steering than the 20 healthy individuals. Subjects with OSA were also more likely to crash than control subjects after undergoing both sleep restriction and alcohol exposure.

"While this research could only ethically examine driving performance in a simulated setting, it raises some red flags that have strong real-world implications," said Mr. Vakulin. "In OSA patients, microsleeps [brief episodes of sleep] and prolonged eye closures (greater than two seconds) were significant predictors of having a crash incidents with adjusted odds ratios of 19.2 and 7.2, respectively.

"Clearly this data indicates that people with suspected or untreated sleep apnea should avoid driving if they have not had a full night's sleep, and should avoid driving after consuming even a small amount of alcohol," said Mr. Vakulin.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Thoracic Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Thoracic Society. "Patients With Sleep Apnea Should Avoid Driving After Poor Sleep Or Consuming Alcohol." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090519172057.htm>.
American Thoracic Society. (2009, May 23). Patients With Sleep Apnea Should Avoid Driving After Poor Sleep Or Consuming Alcohol. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090519172057.htm
American Thoracic Society. "Patients With Sleep Apnea Should Avoid Driving After Poor Sleep Or Consuming Alcohol." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090519172057.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins