(HealthDay)—For patients with moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea, cranial nerve XII (CNXII) stimulation is associated with significant clinical improvements at one and five years, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, held from Sept. 10 to 13 in Chicago.
B. Tucker Woodson, M.D., from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and colleagues examined five-year outcomes of CNXII stimulation in 65 patients enrolled in a prospective study for moderate/severe obstructive sleep apnea. Thirty-seven patients were withdrawn (29 lost to follow-up or study site closure, five deaths, and three explants).
The researchers found that baseline and one-year to five-year apnea-hypopnea index decreased (median, 29 to 9.4 to 7.0, and mean, 31.3 to 17.1 to 14; P = 0.001). There was improvement of <90 percent in oxygen saturation (4.72 to 0.43 to 1.36 percent), while sleepiness and quality of life normalized (Epworth Sleepiness Scale, 11.4 to 6.9 to 6.8 [P = 0.0001] and Functional Outcome of Sleep questionnaire, 14.8 to 17.5 to 18.0 [P = 0.0001]). There was improvement in the 12-month responder percentage from 65 to 71 percent; seven of 11 non-responders and five of 36 responders converted to responders and non-responders, respectively. Responders' apnea-hypopnea index did not change with body mass index. There was improvement in soft or no snoring at baseline from 42 to 85 and 89 percent at one and five years.
"Cranial nerve stimulation demonstrates significant clinical improvements at one year that are maintained at five years," the authors write.
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