Daytime sleepiness and driving performance in patients with obstructive sleep apnea: Comparison of the MSLT, the MWT, and a simulated driving task

Fabio Pizza, Sara Contardi, Susanna Mondini, Lino Trentin, Fabio Cirignotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Study Objectives: To test the reliability of a driving-simulation test for the objective measurement of daytime alertness compared with the Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) and with the Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT), and to test the ability to drive safely, in comparison with on-road history, in the clinical setting of untreated severe obstructive sleep apnea. Design: N/A. Setting: Sleep laboratory. Patients or Participants: Twenty-four patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea and reported daytime sleepiness varying in severity (as measured by the Epworth Sleepiness Scale). Interventions: N/A. Measurements and Results: Patients underwent MSLT and MWT coupled with 4 sessions of driving-simulation test on 2 different days randomly distributed 1 week apart. Simulated-driving performance (in terms of lane-position variability and crash occurrence) was correlated with sleep latency on the MSLT and more significantly on the MWT, showing a predictive validity toward the detection of sleepy versus alert patients with obstructive sleep apnea. In addition, patients reporting excessive daytime sleepiness or a history of car crashes showed poorer performances on the driving simulator. Conclusions: A simulated driving test is a suitable tool for objective measurement of daytime alertness in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Further studies are needed to clarify the association between simulated-driving performance and on-road crash risk of patients with sleep disordered breathing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-391
Number of pages10
JournalSleep
Volume32
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • Car accident
  • Driving simulation test
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • MSLT
  • MWT
  • Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Clinical Neurology

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