CPAP could save lives and billions

Sunday, May 9, 2004

May 10, 2004

WESTCHESTER, Ill.   - Nearly 1,000 deaths annually could be avoided if drivers suffering from obstructive sleep apnea were treated with CPAP, according to the authors of an article published in the May issue of the journal Sleep.
The study reports that OSA-related car crashes cost the country  $15.9 billion in 2000. If 70% of those drivers had been compliant with their CPAP therapy - at a cost of $3.18 billion annually - the study’s authors conclude that Americans would save $11 billion.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of San Diego, including Dr. Terence Davidson, whose January petition has prompted CMS to reassess whether home sleep diagnosis for OSA is appropriate. (See 4/26 Newswire story.)
After an analysis of studies published between 1980 and 2003, the researchers used mathematical modeling to reach its conclusions.
While those studies showed that people with severe OSA are certainly at elevated risk for car crashes, the Sleep editors are not persuaded that the data shows that people with mild to moderate OSA are also at an elevated risk.
The researchers “have made an important start that should spur us to obtain better data to provide more refined estimates in the future,” write the editors.