This morning at 8:30 am, a Jefferson patient became the first person in the Philadelphia area to receive a new treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Inspire upper airway stimulation therapy, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in April, 2014, is an implanted sensor that delivers mild stimulation to key airway muscles, keeping them open during sleep. It has been clinically proven to significantly reduce sleep apnea and significantly improve quality of life measures. Inspire therapy is an alternative to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (C.P.A.P.) sleep masks for patients who can’t use them—and only about 30 percent of patients diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea and prescribed with C.P.A.P. masks actually do use them.
Obstructive sleep apnea affects an estimated 18 million Americans and occurs when the tongue and other soft tissues relax during sleep and obstruct the airway. This causes recurrent awakening and leads to daytime sleepiness or fatigue and increased risk of heart attack, stroke, weight gain, and high blood pressure. The effects of sleep apnea can be life-threatening: Recently, a patient being treated at Jefferson was taken off a heart transplant list because his condition improved markedly after he was treated for obstructive sleep apnea.
Jefferson otolaryngology surgeon Dr. Maurits Boon and Dr. Karl Doghramji , Medical Director of the Jefferson Sleep Disorders Center explained the new therapy to a packed room at a health education seminar at the Navy Yard last week.
“This represents a huge shift in the way we are able to treat sleep apnea for patients who cannot tolerate CPAP therapy,” said Dr. Boon, M.D. “Initial results from studies suggest great effectiveness with very low surgical risk. We are proud to be the first center in Philadelphia to offer this treatment and we believe it will make a huge difference in our approach to treating this frustrating disease
“CPAP is a highly effective treatment for OSA. However, a sizable number of individuals with OSA cannot tolerate CPAP,” said Dr. Doghrmaji. “We work diligently with these patients to overcome this inability. However many are still unable to utilize CPAP, or cannot do so due to a variety of medical reasons. Thankfully, a variety of alternative treatments are available including dental appliances and surgical therapies. Upper airway stimulation represents the most recently introduced alternative. Clinical studies with this device indicate that it is a highly effective method for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, and represents a dramatic advance in our ability to treat this serious condition.”
To schedule a medical evaluation for obstructive sleep apnea, patients can call 1-800-JEFF-NOW.