Monday, July 25, 2011

A New Experimental Alternative to the CPAP

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Treatment (CPAP) is the first-line treatment for sleep apnea. However, it does not work for all patients. The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is testing an experimental alternative sleep apnea treatment that works by stimulating the muscles to keep the airway from closing.
The muscle stimulator resembles a pacemaker and is implanted beneath the skin in the chest. There are two leads extending from the stimulator. One goes to an electrode that is implanted on the nerve that leads to the tongue. A person’s breathing cycle stimulates the nerve.  The second lead goes to the chest muscles to detect breathing. When the person is ready for sleep, the stimulator can be turned on by a remote.
Dr. Gillespie, a sleep specialist, says that patients won’t feel the stimulation, but they may feel their tongue move forward. However, after a few days, it is not that noticeable.
The experimental surgery is being monitored as part of a trial by the Food and Drug Administration. It is only for those patients who have tried the CPAP treatment and it has not benefitted them.
To find out if you have sleep apnea, visit an AASM accredited sleep center to have a sleep study done.

Photo by: Robbie Kennedy

1 comment:

kevinleemorton said...

Hey ZJM, insightful post and a beautiful site. My name is Kevin Morton and I'm Dr. Dement's Head Teaching Assistant over at Stanford Sleep and Dreams. We run a site that seeks to spread knowledge about sleep medicine and sleep science as well, at http://www.end-your-sleep-deprivation.com. I was wondering if you'd be interested in a link exchange. I'd be happy to send me eyes over here. I looked for a way to contact you on the site, but the comments seemed my only bet.

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