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Inspire Sleep Apnea Implant Review
The Inspire Sleep Apnea Implant is an implantable medical device for the treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome
Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is a disorder caused by repeated episodes of sleep apnea. This is a condition where breathing stops for more than 10 seconds, during which the oxygen saturation in the blood is reduced by more than 4%.
OSA syndrome occurs during sleep, when the muscles in the upper airway relax, causing blockage of the respiratory tract. This leads to the deterioration of blood oxygenation and induces short episodes of unconsciousness throughout the night. An unhealthy pattern of sleep puts stress on the body, causing increased blood pressure and the development of serious diseases. Diseases caused by OSA can be physical, such as high blood pressure, myocardial 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 episodes of apnea per hour, regardless of the presence or absence of clinical symptoms.
The gold standard in the treatment of OSA syndrome is CPAP-therapy. However, CPAP therapy is not for everyone as many people find it uncomfortable to sleep with the mask over their face and the machine itself can be quite loud, especially as it often sits close to the head. Only 25% of patients can use CPAP therapy for a long period of time.
Therefore, recently Inspire Medical Systems Inc. came 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 stimulates electrostimulation of the sublingual nerve. The battery life is about 10 years.
The main unit of this device is placed under the skin, on the right side of the front of the chest and it controls 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 come out, and helps keep the airways open during sleep.
In addition to the electrodes, this device also includes a small handy remote switch, which actually turns the device on before sleep and switches it off once awake. This disables the electrodes from disrupting the processes of communication and eating during the active phase of the day, when a person needs physiological reduction of the larynx and tongue movements for these processes.
The patient may feel involuntary slight contractions of the larynx, or movement of the tongue during the first use of the device. These movements do not cause pain, instead only a slight discomfort. These unpleasant effects disappear after the first use of the device.
Generally, the implant should be checked 1 or 2 times a year. However, depending on the situation, a doctor trained in Inspire therapy may consult patients more or less often.
The Inspire sleep apnea implant is only suitable for:
Patients over 22 years old.
Patients were diagnosed with moderate or severe sleep apnea syndrome.
Patients with an apnea index in the range of 20 to 65.
Patients who are not comfortable using CPAP therapy or did not have the desired effect.
Patients with a body mass index of less than 32.
Body mass index (BMI) = weight (kg) / height ^ 2 (m2).
A person with a weight of 80 kg and a height of 170 cm has
BMI = 80kg / (1.7m^2) = 80 / 2.89 = 27.68 kg/m2
The Inspire Sleep Apnea implant could replace CPAP therapy as the ‘gold standard’ in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. A study by Dr. Ryan J. et al. showed that after implantation of the Inspire Sleep Apnea Implant, snoring decreased significantly. A percentage of “no” or “soft” snoring changed from 22% at the beginning of treatment to 88% at 12 months and 91% at 24 months after treatment. Also, the apnea index was reduced from 31 to 14. 82% of the patients in the study reported a nightly use of this therapy for five years. Therefore, it is obvious that this method is very effective and easy to use!
There was also another interesting study by Dr. Patrick J. at Pittsburgh University Medical Center. The study found that the stimulation of the sublingual nerve at the base of the tongue reduced the severity of obstructive sleep apnea by 68% and reduced the number of sleep apnea episodes from 29 to 9. Oxygen saturation in the blood also improved; daytime sleepiness decreases, and patients’ quality of life improves in general.
Inspiring Sleep Apnea Price
The Inspire sleep apnea implant costs aprox. $15,000-25,000, not including operating costs. In addition, the battery cannot be replaced after it runs out and a new unit will need to be implanted. The implant can also move out of place over time. In comparison, the CPAP device costs approx. $1,500 to $3,000, which is cheaper.
Inspire Side effects of sleep apnea
The Inspire Sleep Apnea Implant is a surgical procedure with possible complications, just like any medical procedure. There is a risk of infection after surgery, a temporary weakness of the tongue, bleeding after surgery, pain or discomfort in the implant area.
People with the following concerns are not suitable candidates for this device:
Patients suffering from central apnea or mixed apnea with more than 25% of the total apnea index.
Patients with any anatomical problem that would compromise the performance of upper airway stimulation, such as the presence of a complete concentric collapse of the soft palate.
Patients with any condition or procedure that already compromises neurologic control of the upper airway.
Patients who cannot or do not have the ability to operate the sleep remote.
Patients who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
Patients with an implantable device that may be susceptible to unintended interactions with the Inspire system – allergic response or rejection to the implanted material.
Inspire Sleep Apnea Implant Therapy is FDA approved and proven to be an effective solution for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Currently, insurance companies review and approve the therapy on a patient-by-patient basis.
Talk to your doctor if this is a treatment you would like to explore further.
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