Covidien, in partnership with Sleep Pointe, an organization that provides sleep apnea management and wellness programs to the transportation industry, is aiming to bring sleep apnea education, diagnosis, and treatment directly to the transportation industry.

Using Covidien’s sleep products, Sleep Pointe has developed a comprehensive sleep management program dedicated exclusively to the health and safety of those in the transportation industry. Sleep Pointe’s Mobile Sleep Solution Centers are housed in 53-foot trailers with such amenities as private bedrooms, bathrooms, and a fully functional sleep technician room. The mobile centers will be available at locations across the country that are easily accessible to truck drivers.

The partnership is the latest addition to Covidien’s “Unite to Treat Sleep Apnea” initiative, which was created in response to the increased demand for sleep apnea treatment.

"This partnership is designed to help keep drivers in the transportation industry safe by increasing the availability of diagnostic and therapeutic resources," says Scott Drake, president, Respiratory and Monitoring Solutions, Covidien.

Drivers affected by untreated or undiagnosed sleep apnea create a serious potential threat to the transportation industry. Approximately 28% of commercial truck drivers are affected by sleep apnea, and without treatment, they are up to seven times more likely to be involved in an accident. However, as more cases of sleep apnea are diagnosed and treated among truck drivers, risks of accidents and also comorbid conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes, could be reduced.

"Professional drivers are a difficult group of patients to reach," says Neale Lange, MD, FCCP, FASM, director of sleep services at St Anthony Central Hospital, Denver. "Any intervention that removes or reduces barriers to diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea in anyone operating a vehicle should be strongly supported. It’s not only about sleep quantity but also about sleep quality. Focusing on sleep as it relates to health should become a priority of our health care system."