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Contemporary Reviews in Sleep Medicine |

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

A. J. Marcus Hirsch Allen, MPH; Nick Bansback, PhD; Najib T. Ayas, MD, MPH
Author and Funding Information

From the Department of Experimental Medicine (Dr Hirsch Allen) and the School of Population and Public Health (Dr Bansback), University of British Columbia; the Division of Respiratory Medicine (Dr Ayas), Vancouver Hospital, and the Sleep Disorders Program (Dr Ayas), University of British Columbia Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

CORRESPONDENCE TO: Najib T. Ayas, MD, MPH, Division of Respiratory Medicine, Vancouver Hospital and Health Science Centre, 2775 Laurel St, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 3J5, Canada; e-mail: NAyas@providencehealth.bc.ca


Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2015;147(5):1422-1428. doi:10.1378/chest.14-1949
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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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