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 New England Journal of Medicine.
“Inspire UAS therapy differs from other traditional sleep apnea devices and surgical procedures in that it targets the muscle tone of the throat rather than just the anatomy,” noted Ryan Soose, M.D., director of the UPMC Division of Sleep Surgery and assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Department of Otolaryngology.
The device was implanted in three areas: a stimulation electrode was placed on the hypoglossal nerve, which provides innervation to the muscles of the tongue; a sensing lead was placed between rib muscles to detect breathing effort; and a neurostimulator was implanted in the upper right chest, just below the clavicle bone.
The Inspire UAS therapy device is designed to sense breathing patterns and deliver mild stimulation to a patient’s airway muscles to keep the airway open during sleep. Patients used a “controller” to turn on the device at night, so it is only used when the patient sleeps.