FDA Approves Implantable Device for Sleep Apnea

The FDA has approved a new treatment — Inspire Upper Airway 
Stimulation therapy — for patients with moderate-to-severe 
obstructive sleep apnea who cannot use a continuous positive airway 
pressure machine.

The device is implanted in the upper chest, senses breathing patterns, 
and mildly stimulates the airway muscles, keeping the airway open. The 
device is turned on and off using a handheld remote.

In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, some 125 
patients (83% men, mean age: 55 years) had the device implanted. At 12 
months, the number of apnea events per hour decreased by 68% and 
oxygen desaturation events decreased by 70%.

The procedure to implant the device has a shorter recovery time than 
surgery to alter airway or facial anatomy, according to the 
manufacturer. It is expected to be available to patients by the end of 
2014.

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