Self-reported sleepiness and not the apnoea hypopnoea index is the best predictor of sleepiness-related accidents in obstructive sleep apnoea

P. Philip, S. Bailly, M. Benmerad, J. A. Micoulaud-Franchi, Y. Grillet, M. Sapène, I. Jullian-Desayes, M. Joyeux-Faure, R. Tamisier, J. L. Pépin
Sci Rep. 2020-10-01; 10(1):
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-72430-8

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To evaluate the value of apnoea + hypopnoea index versus self-reported sleepiness at the wheel in anticipating the risk of sleepiness-related accidents in patients referred for obstructive sleep apnoea. A cross-sectional analysis of the French national obstructive sleep apnoea registry. 58,815 subjects referred for a suspicion of obstructive sleep apnoea were investigated by specific items addressing sleepiness at the wheel and sleepiness-related accidents. Apnoea + hypopnoea index was evaluated with a respiratory polygraphy or full polysomnography. Subjects had a median age of 55.6 years (45.3; 64.6), 65% were men, with a median apnoea + hypopnoea index of 22 (8; 39) events/h. Median Epworth sleepiness scale score was 9 (6; 13), 35% of the patients reported sleepiness at the wheel (n = 20,310), 8% (n = 4,588) reported a near-miss accident and 2% (n = 1,313) reported a sleepiness-related accident. Patients reporting sleepiness at the wheel whatever their obstructive sleep apnoea status and severity exhibited a tenfold higher risk of sleepiness-related accidents. In multivariate analysis, other predictors for sleepiness-related accidents were: male gender, ESS, history of previous near-miss accidents, restless leg syndrome/periodic leg movements, complaints of memory dysfunction and nocturnal sweating. Sleep apnoea per se was not an independent contributor. Self-reported sleepiness at the wheel is a better predictor of sleepiness-related traffic accidents than apnoea + hypopnoea index.

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