About Inspire

The Inspire device monitors your breathing while you sleep and opens your airway. It is for those with moderate to severe sleep apnea who are 22 years or older and not significantly obese. You can control the device, which is surgically implanted, with a handheld remote. Benefits include:

  • Short recovery
  • Replacement for CPAP
  • Improved alertness
  • Reduced snoring

Call today to learn more
913-588-1227 or 844-323-1227

New Device Revolutionizes Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment

An estimated 18 million Americans live with sleep apnea, often using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to get a better night's sleep. But now there's a novel approach for treating sleep apnea – and The University of Kansas Health System's Sleep Disorders Center is the only facility in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma or Arkansas to offer it.

"The Inspire device is an innovative way to treat patients who find the CPAP machine difficult or impossible to use," said sleep medicine specialist Suzanne Stevens, MD. "We're excited to give patients an alternative treatment for their obstructive sleep apnea. It's an implantable device that demonstrates just how far treatment in this field has come."

What is sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when breathing is repeatedly stopped and started due to a narrowed or closed airway. As the throat muscles relax, the airway closes, limiting the oxygen intake to the lungs. The brain senses a drop in the oxygen levels and arouses or wakes the sleeper, causing the airway to open. Patients often awake with a gasp or snort, with the pattern occurring 5 to 30 times an hour all night long.

"We see people who are exhausted, even though they were in bed all night," said Dr. Stevens. In addition to daytime tiredness and irritability, people with sleep apnea are at higher risk for stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and liver problems. Other complications can include memory problems, mood disorders, heart attacks and heart rhythm disorders.

"The gold standard treatment is the CPAP machine," said Dr. Stevens. "But it doesn't work for everyone. It can be inconvenient and uncomfortable. In addition, there is maintenance and it is not aesthetically pleasing."

Inspire illustration, courtesy of Inspire Medical Systems, Inc.Enter Inspire

Those who qualify for Inspire have a minor outpatient procedure. The physician implants the small nerve stimulator device and battery pack under the skin in the chest. One electronic lead, or wire, connects the device to the nerve that stimulates the tongue. The other lead connects to a space in the ribs near the diaphragm. Once connected, the device monitors the patient's breathing. The device sends an impulse to the tongue during every breath while sleeping, keeping the the airway open for oxygen.

After the procedure, patients wait for 30 days to heal. Then they return to the physician, who activates the device. Once activated, patients can use a hand-held remote control device to turn Inspire on before they go to sleep each night. They can also pause, and turn it off in the morning. The battery pack is designed to last 7 to 10 years, much like a pacemaker.

"With only the remote to keep track of, this treatment is so much more convenient than the CPAP machine," Dr. Stevens said. "There are no hoses or masks to clean or maintain. It's not uncomfortable or unappealing to wear. It's also much better for patients who travel frequently."

Sleep tips

New treatment, positive results

Approximately 1,000 devices have been implanted in patients throughout the world so far, and the data is very promising. "Over 36 months, the data indicate this device eliminates sleep apnea or significantly reduces snoring and daytime sleepiness," said Dr. Stevens. "With our interdisciplinary approach involving ear, nose and throat professionals and sleep specialists to treat these disorders, we are one of the few facilities that can offer this high level of treatment to our patients."

To learn more about this innovative treatment or The University of Kansas Health System's Sleep Disorders Center, call 913-588-1227 or 844-323-1227.