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New Technology Approved by FDA To Make Sleep Apnea A Thing of The Past

by Felix Omondi

New Technology Approved by FDA To Make Sleep Apnea A Thing of The Past

sleep apneaSleep Apnea is a term used to refer to a temporary suspension or absence of breathing while sleeping. The leading cause of this condition is when the tongue and throat muscles relax excessively when one is sleeping. Leading to blockage of breathing and thus the patient is awoken from sleep in order to catch their breath so to speak. Individuals who suffer from this condition lose a lot of crucial sleep during bed time and more prone to cause car accidents or suffer a heart attack or stroke.

The National Institutes of Health statistics show about 12 million to 18 million Americans suffer from this condition, but it is more prevalent in individual who are overweight and in those in their middle ages especially men. But anyone can acquire this condition. The most widely used treatment for this condition currently is the CPAP: a special masks that gently blows air through the patient’s nose in order to keep the airways open. But it seems to be failing since most patients who begin using CPAP soon stop citing a number of reasons such as:

  • The mask fits poorly on them and starts to leak.
  • The mask makes them feel claustrophobic.
  • Patients rip them off during sleep as the toss and turn in bed.

Now sleep deprived Americans would be pleased to know that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just approved a new technology that will make this hard-to-treat condition a thing of the past. This technology is in the form of a device which will be able to keep your airways open by simply zapping electrical current through them. This pacemaker-like device is the innovative creation from Inspire Medical Systems based in Minneapolis.

The device takes care of the problem by stimulating the nerve which controls key airway muscles, which enables them to stay in place instead of flopping around when you’re asleep thus interfering with your breathing. FDA has approved this device for patients suffering from a severe to a moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea

The device works in the following way: it has a small generator that is implanted on the patient’s upper chest area in much the same way you would a conventional defibrillator or a pacemaker. The generator is then connected to an electrical lead stimulator in the throat which will act as a sensor to the patient’s breathing patterns and will deliver current in order to maintain the airways open throughout the patients sleep. The patient can operate the device through a small hand-held remote that they put on while going to sleep and can turn off when they wake up.

The manufacture says that the required implant not as invasive compared to other surgery options available for treatment of the same condition. It also has a faster recovery time compared to the other surgery means which treats by removing parts of the mouth’s roof or widening the airways.

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