<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 18, Issue 1, March 2010

Rom J Leg Med18(1)37-42(2010)
© Romanian Society of Legal Medicine

Medico-legal implications of respiratory disorders during sleep

D. Boisteanu, A. Mita-Baciu, R. Vasiluta

Abstract: Sleep-related breathing disorders are the most frequent medical cause of daytime sleepiness. Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) has been demonstrated to significantly increase safety and health risks and has been associated with a high risk for motor vehicle accidents, probably the highest of all risks due to medical conditions. Treatment of patients with obstructive sleep apnoea with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is effective as it reduces both apnoeas during the night and sleepiness during the day and improve quality of life. The primary task of the physician is proper diagnosis, therapy and counseling. All professional drivers with excessive daytime sleepiness as well as uncooperative or therapy resistant drivers should be referred to a sleep disorder centre for objective measurements of excessive daytime sleepiness and assessment of driving capability. Given the high prevalence of breathing disorders during sleep in the general population, and the evidence that treatment decreases the risk of accidents, it seems legitimate to try and reduce the occurrence of sleepiness-related accidents in affected patients by regulating the access to a driving license in those patients.
Keywords: sleep apnea, driving legislation

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