Occupational health of patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome: a systematic review

Sleep Breath. 2015 Mar;19(1):35-44. doi: 10.1007/s11325-014-1015-8. Epub 2014 Jun 22.


Purpose: The aim of this systematic literature review was to assess the impact of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) on patients' occupational health.

Methods: We selected 19 studies that dealt with issues related to job performance and productivity, absenteeism, and psychosocial health of patients with OSAS and assessed the risk of bias in their conclusions.

Results: Although methodologically rigorous studies are needed to confirm these findings, the results obtained suggest the existence of multiple relationships between OSAS and work limitations of patients (i.e., difficulties maintaining attention, learning new tasks, or performing monotonous tasks). The studies reviewed reached more scientifically consistent conclusions about such patients' risk of taking more days of sick leave or having work disability, particularly if they reported excessive daytime sleepiness. Very few studies have explored the relationship between OSAS and psychosocial occupational health of patients. Thus, there is a need for research to clarify these aspects of occupational medicine.

Conclusions: OSAS has numerous effects on patients' occupational health, yet, in general, results should be confirmed by studies with sufficiently large samples in which OSAS is diagnosed with reliable methods and occupational variables are assessed with standardized and validated questionnaires.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Efficiency
  • Humans
  • Job Description
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications*
  • Work Performance*