Approximately 18 million Americans experience obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep disorder that can cause serious problems such as excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue, memory loss and lack of concentration. These individuals have an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.
While PAP therapy is the preferred treatment method, not everybody can tolerate this. Individuals looking for an alternative treatment for their sleep apnea might find relief from Inspire therapy.
What Is Inspire?
Inspire is an implantable device, similar to a pacemaker, that monitors your breathing patterns while you sleep. It delivers mild stimulation to the nerve that controls movement of the tongue and airway muscles, keeping the airway open and preventing OSA.
The device contains three parts: a small generator, a breathing sensor lead and a stimulation lead. Patients use a small handheld remote to control the device, turning it on or off and pausing it during the night if needed. The stimulation is typically painless, and its strength can always be adjusted using the remote if needed.
How Is Inspire Used?
The Inspire device is implanted during an outpatient surgical procedure using general anesthesia. It is placed beneath the skin of the neck and chest via three small incisions. Most patients recover fully from surgery within a couple of weeks.
A recent three-year study concluded that many patients noted significant improvements in their quality of life and daytime functioning abilities. Seventy-eight percent of patients experienced a reduction in OSA, and 80 percent reported soft or no snoring.
Candidates for Inspire must have been diagnosed with moderate to severe OSA and are unable to benefit from PAP therapy. They must not be significantly overweight.