a middle aged man sleeping

Clinically Reviewed by Dr. Moorhead. 

If you’ve experienced moderate to severe sleep in the past two years and CPAP didn’t work, you may be a candidate for the Inspire procedure. Read on to learn more.

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects 18 million Americans. It is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, which can cause a range of negative health consequences. There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA).

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes partially or completely blocked during sleep, leading to pauses in breathing and decreased oxygen levels. This can result in snoring, gasping, or choking during sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, and most notably frequent waking throughout the night. OSA is typically caused by the relaxation of the throat muscles, obesity, or other factors that can narrow the airway.

Central sleep apnea, on the other hand, occurs when the brain fails to send the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. This can result in a temporary halting of breathing or shallow breathing during sleep. CSA is often associated with certain medical conditions, such as heart failure, stroke, or neurological disorders, and if left untreated CSA can become a very serious medical condition.

Symptoms of sleep apnea can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Common symptoms include loud snoring, dry mouth, gasping or choking during sleep, daytime sleepiness or fatigue, morning headaches, high blood pressure, and mood disturbances such as irritability or depression.

If you suspect that you or a loved one may suffer from sleep apnea, it is important to seek medical attention. One of our ENT providers can conduct a sleep study, also known as “polysomnogram”, which involves monitoring your breathing and other vital signs during sleep to diagnose the condition. A sleep study can be performed either as an at-home study or as an in-lab study at a sleep laboratory, depending on the circumstances. If you believe you suffer from symptoms of sleep apnea, you can take our Sleep Disorder Self-Assessment Quiz online. If your results indicate you might suffer from sleep apnea, come visit one of our providers at Texas ENT Specialists for a professional diagnosis.

There are several treatment options for sleep apnea, including lifestyle changes such as weight loss and positional therapy, medical devices such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines and oral appliances, and surgical interventions. The CPAP machine is a common treatment option for sleep apnea that uses a mask and machine to deliver a continuous flow of air pressure to keep the airway open during sleep. While effective for many patients, some people find the mask and noise of the machine to be uncomfortable or disruptive to sleep.

An alternative, popular treatment option for sleep apnea is the Inspire procedure. This involves implanting a small device in the patient's chest to stimulate the nerves controlling the tongue and other soft tissues in the throat. This stimulation helps to keep the airway open during sleep and reduces the frequency and severity of apnea episodes.

To qualify for the Inspire procedure, patients need to demonstrate moderate to severe sleep apnea with a recent sleep study, satisfy weight requirements (commonly a BMI of less than 35) and undergo a short diagnostic procedure under anesthesia called a Drug Induced Sleep Endoscopy, or DISE). If these qualifications are met, the procedure will usually be covered by insurance plans. The surgical procedure to implant the device is typically performed under general anesthesia and involves placing a small pulse generator under the skin of the chest and a thin wire that is threaded through the neck and attaching to a nerve on the tongue using, with only two small incisions.

The benefits of the Inspire procedure are plentiful. Unlike the CPAP machine, which can be uncomfortable and disruptive to sleep, the Inspire device is implanted under the skin and
activated only during sleep with a small remote. This makes it a more convenient and comfortable treatment option for many patients. Patients report improved sleep quality, reduced daytime sleepiness, and an overall improvement in their quality of life. In addition, the Inspire procedure is a safe and minimally invasive treatment option.

Sufficient, consistent sleep promotes emotional well-being and reduces the risk of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Lack of sleep has also been linked to a range of chronic health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes. Therefore, prioritizing the attainment of sufficient and high-quality sleep is crucial for overall health and wellness.

If you or a loved one suffer from sleep apnea symptoms or have already been diagnosed but
still seeking the appropriate treatment, visit our providers at Texas ENT Specialists.

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