The Effect of OSA on Work Disability and Work-Related Injuries

OSA is a common yet underdiagnosed respiratory disorder characterized by recurrent upper airway obstruction during sleep. OSA results in sleep fragmentation and repetitive hypoxemia and is associated with a variety of adverse consequences including excessive daytime sleepiness, reduced quality of life, cardiovascular disease, decreased learning skills, and neurocognitive impairment. Neurocognitive impairments that have been linked to poor sleep include memory deficits, decreased learning skills, inability to concentrate, and decreased alertness. Furthermore, the societal and economic costs of OSA are substantial; for example, patients with OSA have a significantly greater risk of motor vehicle crashes, consume more health-care resources, and have associated annual costs in the billions of dollars per year. It is increasingly recognized that OSA may also have substantial economic consequences. Specifically, there is accumulating evidence implicating OSA as an important contributor to work disability (including absenteeism, presenteeism) and work-related injuries. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge in these two areas.

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