Please welcome Dr. Anthony DiMarco, MD, Medical Director and Professor of Physiology at Case Western Reserve University
Older man sleeps well thanks to Inspire Therapy for sleep apnea.

What is Inspire Sleep Therapy?

What is Inspire Sleep Therapy?

As we learn more about obstructive sleep apnea, scientists and medical researchers are working to develop more effective treatment solutions to address it. Inspire sleep therapy is considered a breakthrough in this field. It is the first implanted device which has been shown to help patients with OSA to breathe normally while asleep.

Find out how Inspire sleep therapy works, why it is so effective and why patients are asking for it by name. We also provide some practical information about what it feels like to use the Inspire device, who it is recommended for, and how to get started with treatment.

The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have difficulty breathing while asleep. When our body relaxes with sleep, so do the muscles and soft tissues in our mouth, throat and neck. This is normal. When someone has this sleep disorder, however, these soft tissues relax to the point of blocking the main airway in the throat. This is dangerous because the person sleeping doesn’t get enough oxygen – something the brain needs to work properly.

Multiple times during the night, the brain senses the oxygen deprivation and sends a message to the body, which responds by spasming. This triggers the person to take a deep breath, but disrupts the sleep cycle. This is a chronic problem that persists whenever the person sleeps. The long-term effects on the brain and body from sleep deprivation and apneas are serious. People with untreated sleep apnea have an increased risk for:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke

Symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Headaches
  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping at night
  • Daytime grogginess

Inspire Sleep Therapy Can Be a Permanent Solution to Sleep Apnea

Inspire therapy is a solution for some patients with sleep apnea. It was approved by the FDA in 2014 and has proven to be an effective long-term treatment for OSA in several clinical studies.

How Does it Work?

The Inspire device is placed inside the body, just under the skin. This device monitors each breath and supports the natural breathing process. It automatically sends electrical stimulation to the muscles responsible for breathing and keeps the airway open. Mild stimulation is directed to the hypoglossal nerve which controls the movement of the tongue and other muscles in the upper airway. This causes the tongue and other soft tissues to tense up and free the airway. For many patients, it successfully improves regular breathing during sleep.

There are three implanted parts: a neurostimulator, a pressure sensing lead and stimulation lead. Each part of the device is controlled using a specialized remote control.

Advantages of Inspire Sleep Therapy

Using Inspire, most people notice great improvement in the quality of sleep and a significant decrease in the symptoms and side effects associated with sleep apnea. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, with Inspire therapy:

  • There is a 78% of sleep apnea activity per hour of sleep for the average patient.
  • The amount of snoring reported decreases by an average of 76%.

Where CPAP machines force oxygen into the airway, the Inspire system works inside the body to support regular breathing function.

What It Feels Like to Use Inspire Therapy

To use Inspire therapy, you simply turn on the device with a small remote control before going to bed. Then, you can turn the device off when you wake up. There are no other machines, tubes, or parts needed.

The light electrical stimulation transmitted by the Inspire device is silent, painless, and does not interrupt regular sleep patterns. When it is first activated, most people can feel the muscles in their mouth get tense for a moment or describe it as a tingling sensation. Then, they can fall asleep normally and sleep soundly through the night.

The special remote control also allows users to adjust the strength of the stimulation and pause it at any point, as needed.

Who Should Try Inspire Sleep Therapy?

This innovative treatment solution is recommended for adults with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea who haven’t had success with CPAP therapy. Because it is less invasive, the use of a CPAP machine is advisable in most cases. For patients who are unable to use a CPAP device or have not had consistent improvement, however, Inspire therapy may be a great treatment option. Inspire sleep therapy may also be recommended for those struggling with central sleep apnea.

Inspire Sleep Therapy is Now Available Near You

Find out if this treatment option can help you. Sleep Health Solutions of Ohio now offers Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation therapy for obstructive sleep apnea. We can get you started and also help you find a doctor to guide you through the treatment process. Call our office at (330) 923-0228 to schedule a consultation.

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