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Brigham and Women’s Sleep Medicine and Endocrinology Center

at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital

Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

For patients with obstructive sleep apnea who cannot use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy, which is recognized as the best treatment option for sleep apnea, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital now offers Inspire® upper airway stimulation therapy.

Inspire therapy works inside the body with a patient’s natural breathing process to treat sleep apnea. Mild stimulation keeps the airway open during sleep, allowing oxygen to flow naturally. The patient uses a small handheld remote to turn Inspire on before bed and off when they wake up.

Am I a candidate for Inspire upper airway stimulation therapy?

To qualify for Inspire upper airway stimulation therapy, patients must have a body mass index (BMI) of 32 or below and their sleep apnea must wake them between 15 and 65 times per hour. An initial procedure called a Drug Induced Sleep Endoscopy (DISE) is needed to determine the type of muscle collapse that causes your sleep apnea, which then determines if you are a good candidate for Inspire upper airway stimulation therapy. This procedure takes about 20 minutes and is performed by your sleep doctor alongside an anesthesiologist.

How does Inspire upper airway stimulation therapy work?

For patients who qualify, a small device will be implanted by an ear, nose and throat surgeon. Once you have healed from that procedure, you will be tested over the course of several weeks to determine how much stimulation you can tolerate from the device. Before you begin using the device to treat your sleep apnea, you will take part in a sleep study to determine the optimal stimulation to treat your sleep apnea.

How long does the Inspire device last?

Similar to a pacemaker, the Inspire device’s batteries last at least 10 years. Replacing the battery requires a simple surgical procedure.

What are the benefits of Inspire upper airway stimulation therapy?

With Inspire upper airway stimulation therapy, sleep apnea patients do not need to be tied to a CPAP mask, which can be uncomfortable for many people and disruptive to their bed partners. To turn it on at night, you simply use the remote control.

Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital

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