Sleep apnea therapy treats patients through upper airway stimulation

June 30, 2015, Weill Cornell Medical College
The implant, manufactured by Inspire Medical Systems, works with a person's natural breathing process.

A state-of-the-art implant designed to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is now being offered at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The device is the first of its kind approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is an alternative to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the current standard of care for OSA.

Some 18 million Americans have OSA, according to the National Sleep Foundation. The condition occurs when the tongue and other soft tissues relax during sleep and obstruct the airway. While CPAP masks are effective when used properly and consistently, they face high rates of non-compliance. Studies have shown that many patients find CPAP masks uncomfortable and inconvenient to wear at night before going to sleep.

"The implantable upper airway stimulation device has revolutionized our treatment approach for CPAP-intolerant patients with OSA," said Dr. Maria Suurna, a sleep surgery specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and assistant professor of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. "This is the most exciting alternative therapy for patients who have struggled for years to effectively manage their OSA. Now, we can implant this small device with little discomfort to the patient. This innovative procedure has been very successful in controlling and snoring during sleep."

The implant, manufactured by Inspire Medical Systems, works with a person's natural breathing process. The device is inserted under the skin in the upper chest, and delivers mild stimulation to key airway muscles, keeping the airway open during sleep. The patient activates the device with an external remote control at night and can turn it off upon waking in the morning.

OSA poses a wide range of health risks to patients. The condition's common side effects include daytime sleepiness, depression, weight gain and diminished quality of life. In clinical trials, the implant reduced apnea and hypopnea (shallow breathing) by 68 percent, and 85 percent of bed partners reported little to no snoring in their partner 12 months after activation. In addition, patients reported significant improvements in daytime functioning.

The device is inserted under the skin in the upper chest.
"While CPAP treatment can often help people with OSA, there is still a great need for alternative treatment for patients who have not been able to tolerate CPAP," said Dr. Ana Krieger, medical director of the Weill Cornell Center for Sleep Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and an associate professor of clinical medicine, neurology and genetic medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. "This new implant will allows us to offer a new treatment approach for patients who have been suffering for many years. This patient-centered approach is a major breakthrough in addressing OSA, which is related to a number of other, more serious conditions."

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell is currently offering the procedure and device to who have OSA and have not been able to use a CPAP mask.

Explore further: New research suggests sleep apnea screening before surgery

Related Stories

New research suggests sleep apnea screening before surgery

September 23, 2014
Scheduled for surgery? New research suggests that you may want to get screened and treated for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) before going under the knife. According to a first-of-its-kind study in the October issue of Anesthesiology, ...

Pulmonary rehabilitation helps patients newly diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea

May 18, 2015
Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) treatment could be a valuable addition to comprehensive therapy in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) syndrome, according to a new study. The study was presented at the 2015 American ...

New device can reduce sleep apnea episodes by 70 percent, study shows

January 8, 2014
Implantation of a sleep apnea device called Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation (UAS) therapy can lead to significant improvements for patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), according to a study published today in the ...

Study shows CPAP use for sleep apnea does not negatively impact sexual quality of life

October 21, 2014
Patients who use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) often believe that it makes them less sexually attractive, according to researchers at Rosalind Franklin University. ...

Electronic stimulation therapy for obstructive sleep apnea found safe, effective

June 5, 2013
A clinical study has found that electronic stimulation therapy to reduce obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is safe and effective.

Recommended for you

Sleep apnea, congenital heart disease may be deadly mix for hospitalized infants

September 17, 2018
Infants often aren't screened for sleep apnea, but a new study suggests the disorder may be tied to an increased risk of death in infants with congenital heart disease.

Sleep deficiency increases risk of a motor vehicle crash

April 4, 2018
Excessive sleepiness can cause cognitive impairments and put individuals at a higher risk of motor vehicle crash. However, the perception of impairment from excessive sleepiness quickly plateaus in individuals who are chronically ...

Sleep apnea study finds male-female differences in cerebral cortex thickness, symptoms

March 13, 2018
Researchers from the UCLA School of Nursing examined clinical records and magnetic resonance imaging brain scans of patients who were recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, and discovered several apparent connections between ...

Synthetic cannabinoid reduces sleep apnea

November 29, 2017
A synthetic version of a molecule found in the cannabis plant was safe and effective in treating obstructive sleep apnea in the first large, multi-site study of a drug for the sleep disorder funded by the National Institutes ...

Sleeping through the snoring: Researchers identify neurons that rouse the brain to breathe

November 2, 2017
A common and potentially serious sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnea affects at least one quarter of U.S. adults and is linked to increased risk of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. In a paper published today ...

Remede system approved for sleep apnea

October 9, 2017
(HealthDay)—The Remede sleep system, an implanted device that treats central sleep apnea by activating a nerve that sends signals to the diaphragm to stimulate breathing, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.