Implantable device can resolve sleep apnea

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – Between 50-to-70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, the most common of which is a condition called obstructive sleep apnea.

”All night snoring. Oh, God, it’s terrible,” said Carlos Galvez who has struggled with the condition for years.

”It’s been difficult because I was unable to sleep because he’d stop breathing so it was really hard,” said his wife, Adriana Galvez.

When the benefits of surgery a few years ago didn’t last, Galvez had to rely on a C-Pap machine, which he couldn’t tolerate.

”It would end up on the floor, whenever he would move it would fall off the night stand so it was very difficult for him and for me obviously,” his wife said.

When all else fails, certain types of obstructive sleep apnea can now be treated with an implantable device called Inspire.

Dr. Michael Medina, a head and neck and neck surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Weston said it’s intended for cases where a loss of muscle tone causes the tongue to fall back in the mouth.

”It is actually stimulating the hypoglossal nerve which is the nerve to the tongue, so with the device it actually gently moves the tongue forward with a light stimulation. (It’s) not enough to wake the patient up from their sleep, but enough to open up the airway and so with that the patient won’t get into episodes of apnea,” Medina said.

The device is implanted in the upper chest, much like a pacemaker, but instead with leads going to the neck, but patients first have to meet rigorous screening criteria.

”We have to take a look at the palate and the base of the tongue and then from there then we judge whether or not a patient will be a candidate,” Medina said.

After years of restless nights Galvez and his wife are finally sleeping easier.

”Your life change because when the wife is happy life is happy right?,” he laughed.

”Now his ribs are fine because I’m not poking him to wake him,” his wife added.

Since its approval by the Food and Drug Administration, the Inspire device has been used to treat thousands of sleep apnea patients.

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