Sleep apnea affects nearly 18 million Americans. Many people with sleep apnea use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help with continuous breathing while they sleep. Using a mask, a CPAP device keeps the upper airway passages open — preventing snoring and the dangerous repeated stop and start breathing that occurs with sleep apnea. “Some people find this common method of treating sleep apnea uncomfortable and cumbersome,” says Thomas Hamilton, MD of ENT& Allergy Specialists who perform surgery at St. Elizabeth Healthcare.
“Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most prevalent sleep disorders we treat,” says Dr. Hamilton. “We see many individuals who can benefit from continuous positive airway pressure, upper airway surgery and dental devices. But CPAP machines or surgery are not right for everyone.” Now the Ear, Nose and Throat team at St. Elizabeth offers an FDA-approved obstructive sleep apnea treatment called Inspire.
What is the Inspire treatment device?
Inspire is a treatment device for sleep apnea. The device is designed to keep your airway open while you sleep. Unlike a CPAP machine, there are no hoses or masks to keep track of, clean or maintain.
The small device is implanted inside your body with the newly approved two-incision approach during an outpatient procedure. Your doctor will place the device under the skin of the neck and chest.
Once Inspire is implanted, your doctor will work with you to fine-tune it to your specific needs. Throughout the night, Inspire monitors your breathing. Every time you take a breath, a nerve stimulator gently sends a pulse that moves your tongue out of the way. This ensures your airway remains open, allowing for a steady supply of oxygen to your body.
How does Inspire work?
If you qualify for Inspire, your doctor will perform a procedure to implant the device. You’ll wait 30 days to allow your body to heal. Then your doctor will activate the device and make sure that it is tuned to your specific needs. You’ll turn on the Inspire device with a remote control every night just before bed and turn it off in the morning when you wake.
Am I a good candidate for Inspire?
If you have sleep apnea, you’re no stranger to waking many times per hour while you sleep. On average, a person with sleep apnea may wake anywhere from 5 to 30 times per hour throughout the night, says Dr. Hamilton.
Maybe you’ve been using the CPAP reluctantly, have it but don’t use it consistently, or have given up on using a CPAP machine completely. Or maybe other treatment measures such as losing weight, quitting smoking or treatment for severe allergies aren’t improving your symptoms.
The Inspire treatment device can improve your sleep apnea condition. In fact, approximately 80-85% of patients say they experience a reduction in sleep apnea events.
Dr. Hamilton suggests talking to your doctor if you meet the following eligibility criteria:
- You have been diagnosed with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea.
- You are generally healthy and not overweight.
- You are over the age of 22.
- You have tried a CPAP but cannot use it.
It’s important to remember that people with sleep apnea experience a higher risk for many complex health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, mood and memory problems, and heart attacks and rhythm disorders. Talk to us today about whether Inspire treatment is a good option for you.