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Inspire Sleep Apnea Implant Review
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 recurrent episodes of sleep apnea. This is a condition where breathing stops for more than 10 seconds, during which oxygen saturation in the blood decreases by more than 4%.
OSA syndrome occurs during sleep when the upper airway muscles relax, causing the airway to become obstructed. This leads to a worsening of blood oxygenation and provokes brief unconscious awakening episodes throughout the night. An unhealthy pattern of sleep puts stress on the body, causing increased blood pressure and the development of severe diseases. The diseases caused by OSA can be physical, such as hypertension, 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 polysomnography is required. 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.
The gold standard of therapy 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 their face and the machine itself can be loud, especially as it often sits close to the head. Only 25% of patients can use CPAP therapy for a long time.
Therefore, recently Inspire Medical Systems Inc. has come up with a very effective solution with the Inspire Sleep Apnea Implant.
How The Inspir Sleep Apnea Implant Works
The Inspire Sleep Apnea Implant is a battery operated device that promotes electrical stimulation 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 controls the phase of breathing. The other electrode is implanted to stimulate the sublingual nerve, which creates muscle tension. This opens up 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 little remote switch that actually turns the device on before sleep and turns it off once awake. This prevents the electrodes from disturbing the processes of communication and eating during the active phase of the day, when a person needs a physiological narrowing of the larynx and tongue movements for these processes.
The patient may feel slight involuntary contractions of the larynx or tongue movements during initial use of the device. These movements do not cause pain, instead only a small discomfort. These unpleasant effects disappear after the first few uses of the device.
In general, 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 who are over 22 years old.
Patients who have been diagnosed with moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
Patients with an apnea index in the range of 20 to 65.
Patients who are not comfortable using CPAP therapy or have not had the desired effect.
Patients with a body mass index 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 potentially replace CPAP therapy as “the gold standard” of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. A study by Dr. Ryan J. et al. showed that after implanting the Inspire Sleep Apnea Implant, snoring is greatly reduced. Percentage of “no” or “soft” snoring changed from 22% at the beginning of the therapy to 88% at 12 months and 91% at 24 months after the therapy. Also, the apnea index was reduced from 31 to 14. 82% of the patients in the study reported 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. of the Pittsburgh University Medical Center. The study found that 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. Blood oxygen saturation also improved; daytime sleepiness decreased, and patients’ overall quality of life improved.
Inspire Sleep Apnea Cost
The Inspire Sleep Apnea Implant costs approx. $15,000-25,000, not including operating costs. In addition, the battery cannot be replaced once it is exhausted and a new unit will have to be implanted. The implant can also move outward over time. In comparison, the CPAP device costs approx. $1,500 to $3,000, which is much cheaper.
Inspire Sleep Apnea Side Effects
Implantation of the Inspire Sleep Apnea Implant is a surgical procedure with potential complications, as with any medical procedure. There are risks of infections after surgery, temporary weakening of the tongue, post-operative bleeding, 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 who have certain anatomical problems that would compromise the performance of upper airway stimulation, such as the presence of complete concentric collapse of the soft palate.
Patients with any existing condition or procedure that compromised neurological control of the upper airway.
Patients who are unable or do not have the ability to operate the sleep aid.
Patients who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
Patients with an implantable device that may be susceptible to unintended interaction with the Inspire system – an allergic or rejection response to implanted materials.
The Inspire Sleep Apnea Implant therapy is FDA approved and proven to be an effective solution for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Currently, the therapy is reviewed and approved by insurance companies 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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