Objective: Psychomotor vigilance testing (PVT) rapidly assesses attention, reaction time (RT), and abnormal vigilance. Thus, PVT may be an adjunct to screening drivers for high-risk obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)/excess daytime sleepiness (EDS).
Methods: Commercial drivers and emergency responders undergoing occupational examinations took a 10-minute PVT and were instructed to achieve their fastest possible RTs. Participants with maximum RT >5 seconds or ≥2 “super lapses” (RT ≥1000 ms) were categorized as “microsleepers.”
Results: Among 193 male participants, the 15 microsleepers (8%) were significantly more obese, but not different on age or Epworth Sleepiness Score. Time of day had no effect on RT.
Conclusion: PVT is suitable to occupational clinics and can identify otherwise unrecognized, impaired vigilance. Further studies must validate the PVT abnormalities most predictive of OSA/EDS and vehicular crashes, compared to adiposity measures alone.