Breakthrough neurostimulator gives rest to sleep apnea patients

Breakthrough neurostimulator gives rest to sleep apnea patients
(Source: NBC)

(KAIT/NBC) - Some 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a condition when you stop breathing during sleep.

When CPAP or surgery doesn't work or can't be tolerated, there's a new treatment.

Upper airway stimulation is recommended for people with moderate to severe sleep apnea who are normal weight and have typical airway structure, but poor muscle tone in the throat.

Dr. Neil Gildender-Leapman says screening and approval for this could take months, but the device only activates during sleep.

A small battery pack implant in the patient's upper chest powers the stimulator.

"Which stimulates the nerve to the tongue and allows the tongue to jut forward during sleep, opening up the retro-lingual or behind the tongue airway," Dr. Gildender-Leapman said.

If you wake up with a headache, tired all the time, or suffer from high blood pressure or obesity, ask your doctor for a sleep study.

Click here for more information on this new sleep apnea treatment.

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