Mhbp For Providers – Finding the right obstructive sleep apnea treatment solution for you is key to getting a good night’s rest. A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is the standard treatment, but it’s not right for everyone.
Inspire® Upper Airway Stimulation Therapy is a great option for people living with sleep apnea who have not found CPAP to be effective. To better understand how Inspiration works and to get answers to some frequently asked questions about this solution, we caught up with Andrew Agnew, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist in Tampa.
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Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes the airways to become blocked at night. When your airways are blocked, your brain wakes up – meaning your sleep is constantly interrupted. Waking up tired and less alert can throw off your day. If you feel this way every day, it could be stopping you from living your best life.
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If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can lead to other health conditions, including heart disease. But the good news is that inspiration can help.
“Inspiration is a treatment that uses nerve stimulation to help you breathe, so you can breathe better, so you can sleep better,” explains Dr. Agnew. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Inspire in 2014. It is currently the only approved treatment that targets the underlying cause of obstructive sleep apnea.
Inspiratory is a small device placed in the upper chest cavity. “It’s completely subcutaneous and hand-operated, which means there’s no mask or hose to wear at night,” says Dr. Agnew. When you are ready to go to sleep, you just need to turn it on with the remote control.
“You can think of inspiration as a peacemaker for language,” explains Dr. Agnew. A device connected to the nerve that controls tongue movement senses each breath. When you inhale, it pushes your tongue forward so it can’t hold your breath.
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Lara Wittin, MD, a pulmonologist and sleep medicine physician at the Center for Sleep Medicine in Tampa, shares her thoughts on the center’s innovative treatment for obstructive sleep apnea in a short video.
“We have trained physicians at Inspire who can help you find the right treatment option,” says Dr. Agnew. In general, four main criteria qualify adults (people over the age of 18) for inspiration. We consider them as ABCD:
It is important to note that there are different types of sleep apnea. The inhalation procedure is only effective for patients with obstructive sleep apnea because it resolves the mechanical obstruction caused by the tongue. Patients with central sleep apnea, which occurs when the brain does not send the correct messages to the muscles that control breathing, are ineligible.
The inspiration procedure is performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning you go home the same day as the surgery. “You will receive general anesthesia and should not feel anything during the procedure,” says Dr. Agnew.
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We make two small incisions – one in your neck, one under your chest – where we can insert:
You can expect to stay in the outpatient clinic for two to three hours before going home.
Most inspired people recover quickly. Although pain and swelling may occur, many patients find relief from pain within a few days. And they’re back to normal work within a few weeks.
“You don’t use inspiration right away. You will return to us approximately 30 days after the procedure. We turn on inspiration via remote control and determine the best settings for you,” explains Dr. Agnew. Over the next few months, you’ll experiment with these settings to find the minimum effective power you’re working with. Then, 90 days after the initial procedure, there will be another sleep test. “We can confirm that you are satisfied with the inspiration and that it works as it should,” says Dr. Agnew.
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After that, you make a follow-up visit once or twice a year. The battery life of the device is about 11 years. So, when you need to replace it, you come to another procedure. But this procedure is less than the first one. Your doctor will make a piece to replace your inspiratory device, but leave the wires where they are.
The vast majority of inspired patients say it is better than CPAP and would recommend it to others. Better yet, most people find that inspiration doesn’t interfere with daily life, says Dr. Agnew.
Most major insurers cover the inspiration procedure. But check with your doctor and insurer beforehand to know the out-of-pocket costs.
If you can’t sleep, ENT specialists like Dr. Agnew and sleep medicine doctors like Dr. Wittin are ready to help you get the sleep you’ve been dreaming of. From comprehensive sleep studies to state-of-the-art treatments at our comfortable and state-of-the-art sleep center, we’ve got you covered.
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