(03/03/14) - There may be an alternative to that bulky C-PAP machine for millions who suffer from Sleep Apnea. A new device may mean no more mask at bedtime, and finally getting a good night's sleep.
Every night for five years, Kathy Gaberson donned a facemask, connected to hoses and compressed air. The continuous positive airway pressure machine, or C-PAP, was the best treatment available for Kathy's sleep apnea.
The condition was taking a dangerous toll on her health, "I was driving my car locally. and stopped at a stop sign and fell asleep at the stop sign."
Dr. Ryan Soose is studying a new implantable device, called the Inspire Upper Airway Stimulator, "the device itself is a pacemaker-like device that is placed just under the skin of the right upper chest."
The Inspire is connected to an electrode that stimulates the nerves of the tongue, preventing the narrowing of the throat, Soose says, "the patient has a remote control to turn it on and off when they want to use it."
Kathy felt a slight tingling in her throat when the device turned on, but said the feeling didn't keep her from getting great sleep for the first time in years. "I woke up in the morning refreshed. Much, just feeling so much better."
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that two-thirds of the patients using the upper airway stimulation device had control of their sleep apnea. They suffered less daytime sleepiness, snoring and enjoyed better quality of life.
The batteries can last up to 10 years, and there is a simple procedure to replace them when they do run out.
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