Untreated obstructive sleep apnea can impact almost every aspect of life – from health and relationships to the enjoyment of everyday activities. The medical condition dramatically increases the risk of heart attack and stroke as well as leads to a host of problems associated with chronic poor sleep. Although traditional therapy with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) can successfully manage sleep apnea, it doesn’t work for everyone. For those in need of a solution, Centura Health offers a new, groundbreaking treatment called Inspire.
Inspire is an FDA-approved device that is implanted inside the body and works by stimulating the nerves that keep airways open during sleep. Inspire is approved for adult patients with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea who have tried CPAP therapy without success.
Benefits of treatment
Keith Swartz, MD, an otolaryngology and sleep medicine specialist for Centura Health, was one of the first physicians in the Denver metro area to provide Inspire therapy and has treated dozens of patients with the advanced treatment since.
“For most patients, Inspire offers significant control of obstructive sleep apnea. This reduces the risk of serious health events and greatly improves quality of life,” explains Dr. Swartz, who performs the procedure at Porter Adventist Hospital.
Inspire dramatically improves sleep quality which can lead to better cognition, problem solving, mood and overall feelings of wellness. The treatment also reduces snoring in the majority of patients which provides added benefits to sleeping partners.
How Inspire works
The Inspire device, which involves a computer and battery about the size of a pacemaker, is implanted under the skin beneath the collarbone. One lead with a breathing sensor extends close to the lungs. Another is connected to the hypoglossal nerve, which controls muscles that move the tongue.
With each breath, the device sends a mild signal to the nerve. This prompts a slight movement of the tongue, clearing the airway for normal breathing during sleep. Patients simply turn on the device before bed using a small, handheld remote. Most users cannot feel it working.
Treatment requires minimally-invasive surgery to place the device. Typically, patients are home the same day and back to normal activities quickly.
“More than 50 percent of patients with obstructive sleep apnea are not able to use or comply with CPAP therapy. Although we help patients succeed with CPAP whenever possible, Inspire offers an excellent alternative when traditional therapy is not an option,” explains Dr. Swartz. “Patients enjoy being free of masks, hoses and machinery. And it allows for greater lifestyle convenience – from ease of travel to the ability to cuddle with a partner.”
Who is a candidate?
Individuals may be a candidate for Inspire if they are age 18 or older, meet certain weight requirements/are not obese and have moderate to severe sleep apnea that is not well-controlled with CPAP. Patients must also undergo outpatient testing to evaluate their airways prior to the procedure.
“We take patient selection very seriously and are thrilled to offer this advanced treatment to help patients in need,” says Dr. Swartz.
For more information on qualified candidates for Inspire, contact Centura Health’s Inspire patient navigator: