The Inspire Sleep Apnea Implant is a medical device that is implanted into the body for the treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) syndrome.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome
Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is a disease caused by relapsing episodes of sleep apnea. This is a condition where breathing stops for more than 10 seconds, during which oxygen saturation in the blood is reduced by more than 4%.
OSA syndrome occurs during sleep, when the muscles of upper airways relax, causing the obstruction of the respiratory tract. This leads to deterioration of blood oxygenation and provokes short unconscious wake-up episodes throughout the night. An unhealthy pattern of sleep places stress on the body, causing increased blood pressure and development of severe diseases. The diseases caused by OSA can be physical, such as hypertension, myocardium infarction and stroke. They could also be mental, including depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, loss of memory and concentration.
Before any treatment, a sleep study or a polysomnography is needed. The polysomnography calculates the apnea index, which is the frequency of apnea episodes during one hour of sleep and determines the severity of the disease. The apnea index is considered significant if there are more than 20 apnea episodes per hour, regardless of the presence or absence of clinical symptoms. Sleep Apnea
The gold standard of treatment for OSA syndrome is CPAP-therapy. However, CPAP therapy is not for everyone as many people find it uncomfortable to sleep with the mask on the face and the machine itself can be loud, especially as it commonly sits near the head. Only 25% of patients can use CPAP-therapy for a long period of time.
Therefore, recently Inspire Medical Systems Inc. has come up with a very effective solution with the Inspire Sleep Apnea Implant.
How The Inspire Sleep Apnea Implant Works
The Inspire Sleep Apnea Implant is a battery operated device that promotes electrostimulation of the sublingual nerve. The battery life is approximately 10 years.
The main unit of this device is placed under the skin, on the front right side of the chest and it monitors the phase of breathing. The other electrode is implanted for stimulation of the sublingual nerve, which creates muscle tension. This opens the upper airways and allows the tongue to stick out, and helps keep the airways open during sleep.
In addition to the two electrodes, this device also includes a handy small remote switch, which actually turns on the device before sleep and switches it off once awake. This disables the electrodes from disturbing the processes of communication and eating during the active phase of the day, when a person needs physiological narrowing of the larynx and tongue movements for these processes.
The patient may feel light involuntary contractions of the larynx, or tongue movements during initial use of the device. These movements do not cause pain, instead just a minor discomfort. These unpleasant effects disappear after the first few uses of the device.