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Free Content Screening for Sleep Apnea in Morbidly Obese Pilots

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BACKGROUND: Debate regarding the merits of screening pilots for sleep apnea has been stimulated by recently issued guidance from the Federal Aviation Administration. It has long been appreciated that sleep apnea results in poor quality sleep, and that poor quality sleep is associated with daytime fatigue and decrements in performance. However, the relationship between sleep apnea and poor performance, including risk for accidents is not as well understood. Good quality data are available for commercial truck drivers and have helped influence transportation policy, but there is a lack of pilot specific data. The purpose of this article is to review the basic epidemiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of sleep apnea, including major risk factors for apnea, such as body mass index (BMI), and to look at what is known about the impact of sleep apnea on performance in transportation related occupations. While pilot specific data may be lacking, good quality data for commercial truckers are available and can be used to formulate rational public policy with the goal of improving aviation safety. This article was reviewed by the Council of the Aerospace Medical Association and approved as a position paper of the Association.

Ruskin KJ, Caldwell JA, Caldwell JL, Boudreau EA. Screening for sleep apnea in morbidly obese pilots. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2015; 86(9):835–841.
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Keywords: obesity; obstructive sleep apnea; safety; sleep deprivation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: EEG and Sleep Section, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2015

More about this publication?
  • This journal (formerly Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine), representing the members of the Aerospace Medical Association, is published monthly for those interested in aerospace medicine and human performance. It is devoted to serving and supporting all who explore, travel, work, or live in hazardous environments ranging from beneath the sea to the outermost reaches of space. The original scientific articles in this journal provide the latest available information on investigations into such areas as changes in ambient pressure, motion sickness, increased or decreased gravitational forces, thermal stresses, vision, fatigue, circadian rhythms, psychological stress, artificial environments, predictors of success, health maintenance, human factors engineering, clinical care, and others. This journal also publishes notes on scientific news and technical items of interest to the general reader, and provides teaching material and reviews for health care professionals.

    To access volumes 74 through 85, please click here.
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