The worldwide sleep apnea device market has demonstrated moderate growth from $3.6 billion in 2011 to 4.2 billion in 2013, according to Kalorama Information. The healthcare market research publisher said that undiagnosed cases and new devices will drive market growth. The estimate was calculated in Kalorama’s recent report on the respiratory device industry: “The Worldwide Market for Respiratory Devices.”

Sleep apnea is associated with airway obstruction, and patients with untreated apnea stop breathing during their sleep. The report says the current prevalence estimate is 18 million individuals of the U.S. population are affected by sleep apnea during a given year and an estimated 10 million Americans remain undiagnosed. Sleep apnea is not unique to the United States as many other countries report sleep apnea problems among their population as well. Over 50% of all apnea cases are diagnosed in individuals over 40 years of age with 4 to 9% of middle-aged men and 2 to 4% of middle-aged women suffering from sleep apnea.

“Sleep apnea is very common, as common as adult diabetes,” said Mary Ann Crandall, analyst for Kalorama Information and the author of the report. “Yet still because of the lack of awareness by the public and healthcare professionals, the vast majority remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated.”

Untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, memory problems, weight gain, impotency, and headaches. Moreover, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for job impairment and motor vehicle crashes. Fortunately, sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated. Several treatment options exist, and research into additional options continues. The report discusses the following device-based treatments:

  • Flow Generators: CPAP flow generators develop a constant, controllable pressure to keep the upper airway open so that the individual can breathe normally.
  • CPAP Devices: Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), in which a controlled air compressor generates an airstream at a constant pressure.
  • Bi-Level PAP Devices: Bi-Level PAP, also known as variable positive airway pressure (VPAP), uses an electronic circuit to monitor the patient's breathing, and provides two different pressures, a higher one during inhalation and a lower pressure during exhalation.
  • Auto PAP Devices: Automatic positive airway pressure (APAP), is the newest form of such treatment. An APAP machine incorporates pressure sensors and a computer which continuously monitors the patient's breathing performance.
  • Facial Interfaces: Such as nasal masks, nasal pillows and nasal seals can induce airflow into the nasal cavity.

The report says it is likely that there will be device alternatives to CPAP on the horizon in the near future and the large sleep companies have made acquisitions to broaden their therapeutic offerings. For example, ResMed acquired Narval SA, a manufacturer of a mandibular repositioning device and Philips Respironics acquired Aspire Medical, which was running clinical trials on a minimally invasive implant for sleep apnea caused by tongue obstruction.

The report covers many more segments, breaks out the market by geographic regions and discusses trends. It also profiles key companies in the market and makes important conclusions. “The Worldwide Market for Respiratory Devices (Inhalers, Nebulizers, Airways, Masks, Sleep Apnea, Oxygen Therapy, Ventilators Medical Humidifiers, Respiratory Measurement)” can be obtained from Kalorama Information at: