What is sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common disorder whose symptoms include loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, impaired quality of life, increased risk of heart disease, and even car accidents. It’s estimated that 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, with 80% of cases going undiagnosed. It is likely that you or someone in your household wants to know how to stop snoring!
What causes sleep apnea?
Many patients with OSA have upper airway muscles that become too relaxed during sleep, therefore failing to keep the airway open. Repeated closure of the airway during sleep causes a decrease in blood oxygen that can lead to high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, daytime sleepiness, and memory problems.
Simply put: these patients’ airway muscles close more than they should during sleep.
How to fix sleep apnea and snoring
For decades, doctors have researched the idea of stimulating the upper airway muscles to stay open during sleep. But the technology to perform this hasn’t been developed–until now!
The Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation (UAS) System (Inspire Medical Systems, Minneapolis, MN, USA) is a small pacemaker device inserted under the skin of the chest that has an electrode that connects to the hypoglossal nerve which stimulates the major dilating muscles of the upper airway. The patient has a hand-held remote control that is used to activate the device prior to sleep.
Does the UAS System work?
Yes! A 2014 study observed a 68% reduction in sleep apnea severity with a mean decrease in the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) from 29 to 9; an 85% reduction in bothersome snoring; and an excellent safety profile.
More good news: at 48-months of follow-up, implanted patients showed ongoing significant improvement in daytime sleepiness, sleep-related quality of life, and snoring reduction with 81% of patients using the device nightly as their primary form of OSA therapy.
Is it right for me?
The ideal candidate for UAS are patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea (AHI 20-65) who have tried and failed CPAP and who are not overly obese.
In general, Medicare has covered the device, and a growing number of private insurers have approved the device after a case by case review.
How can UT’s “Dream Team” help?
UTHSC ENT has a dedicated Sleep Surgery Clinic. Led by Director M. Boyd Gillespie, M.D., this clinic is among the few places that this cutting-edge procedure is currently performed.
If you want to stop snoring, fix your sleep apnea, or have other sleep-related issues, the Sleep Surgery Clinic provides world class treatment in your hometown.