Sleep apnea treatment offers alternative to CPAP

Mar 16, 2021

GLENDALE – A new treatment option is available at Abrazo Arrowhead Campus for those with obstructive sleep apnea who cannot use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy.

Many with sleep apnea don’t even know they have a problem. It can exacerbate conditions like arrhythmia and congestive heart failure – treatable conditions that also can contribute to a higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Typically performed as an outpatient procedure, the new therapy works from inside the body and with the patient's natural breathing process.

The Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation (UAS) therapy is an implantable system includes a small generator, a sensing lead and a stimulation lead. Turned on by a handheld remote, it delivers mild stimulation to key airway muscles, which keeps the airway open during sleep.

Patients may experience some pain and swelling at incision sites but should be able to return to nonstrenuous activities after a few days. Approximately one month after implantation, patients return to their doctor's office where personalized stimulation settings are established and patients are trained to use the handheld sleep remote.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea - the most common type - can be a potentially life-threatening condition.
  • More than 18 million Americans, about 25 percent of men and 10 percent of women suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Research shows that people with poorly managed sleep apnea are at increased risk for heart attack, stroke, weight gain, high blood pressure and heart failure.
  • While CPAP is often successful, studies show that roughly half of all patients who start CPAP eventually become non-compliant.

Common signs of sleep apnea:

  • Reduced or absent breathing, known as apnea events
  • Frequent loud snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep

Common symptoms of sleep apnea*:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue
  • Decreases in attention, vigilance, concentration, motor skills, and verbal and visuospatial memory
  • Dry mouth or headaches when waking
  • Sexual dysfunction or decreased libido
  • Waking up often during the night to urinate

*Sleep apnea symptoms may be different for women compared with men. Women who have sleep apnea more often report headache, fatigue, depression, anxiety, insomnia and sleep disruption.

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