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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31822b8356
Original Articles

Fitness for Duty: A 3-Minute Version of the Psychomotor Vigilance Test Predicts Fatigue-Related Declines in Luggage-Screening Performance

Basner, Mathias MD, PhD, MSc; Rubinstein, Joshua PhD

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Objective: To evaluate the ability of a 3-minute Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT) to predict fatigue-related performance decrements on a simulated luggage-screening task (SLST).

Methods: Thirty-six healthy nonprofessional subjects (mean age = 30.8 years, 20 women) participated in a 4-day laboratory protocol including a 34-hour period of total sleep deprivation with PVT and SLST testing every 2 hours.

Results: Eleven and 20 lapses (355-ms threshold) on the PVT optimally divided SLST performance into high-, medium-, and low-performance bouts with significantly decreasing threat detection performance A′. Assignment to the different SLST performance groups replicated homeostatic and circadian patterns during total sleep deprivation.

Conclusions: The 3-minute PVT was able to predict performance on a simulated luggage-screening task. Fitness-for-duty feasibility should now be tested in professional screeners and operational environments.

©2011The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine


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