Occupation and Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Meta-Analysis

J Occup Environ Med. 2017 Jun;59(6):502-508. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001008.


Objective: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) remains a prevalent condition, but its occupational burden is unclear. We carried out a systematic review to characterize the consistency and magnitude of occupational associations with OSA.

Methods: We studied OSA within three occupational categories: commercial drivers, organic solvent-exposed workers, other selected occupations. We performed a meta-analysis on the prevalence of OSA among drivers and the risk of OSA associated with solvent exposure.

Results: The pooled OSA prevalence in drivers was 41% (95% confidence interval [CI] 26% to 56%) for apnea hypopnea-index (AHI) is greater than 5, and 15% (95% CI 12% to 19%) for AHI is greater than 15. Exposure to solvents was associated with increased but non-statistically significant risk of OSA: summary relative risk, 2.38 (95% CI 0.89 to 6.32). Evidence of occupational association was inconsistent for other factors.

Conclusions: OSA is common among commercial drivers and potentially associated with occupations involving likely solvent exposure.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Automobile Driving*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Occupations*
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Solvents*


  • Solvents