Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox offers implant treatment for sleep apnea – Shaw Local
New Lenox – Patients with obstructive sleep apnea who still don’t sleep well may have a new option.
And Edward Meyers Jr., 68, of New Lenox, who received his Inspire therapy in November 2021 at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, said he loves it.
Inspire Therapy is a small, implantable device that delivers mild electrical stimulation to the tongue to keep the airways open during sleep, according to Dr. Rajeev Mehta, a board-certified otolaryngologist at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox. Otorhinolaryngology is a medical specialty that focuses on the ears, nose and throat.
Patients turn the device off and on using a small remote control. The device starts working in 30 minutes, giving the user time to fall asleep, Mehta said.
“Every time they inhale, a small electrical impulse travels through the nerves that move the tongue,” Mehta said. “Patients tell me it feels like a 9 volt battery on the tongue, a bit of a tingle. That’s why we titrate (measure) the level, to see the ideal level they can tolerate and cure the apnea some sleep.
Mehta said applicants must be 18 or older, have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or less, and have moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea.
Applicants also cannot routinely use or benefit from continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, Mehta said.
The Cleveland Clinic said approximately 25% of men and 10% of women suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. The majority of patients are over 50 and overweight, although sleep apnea can also affect babies and children, the Cleveland Clinic said.
Patient feedback is encouraging, Mehta said.
“Even increasing the levels, they say they haven’t slept so well in decades,” Mehta said.
Although installing the implant is usually an hour-long outpatient surgery, the entire process of healing and determining optimal settings takes about eight weeks, Mehta said.
“Every week we are raising the level,” Mehta said. “They [patients] gradually get used to it. »
Mehta emphasizes that Inspire Therapy is not a first-line treatment for sleep apnea. Patients should try CPAP first, he said.
Mehta said the reasons CPAP doesn’t work for some include claustrophobia, discomfort, poor seal on the mask, bloating and belching due to air pressure, spouse complaints about the noise, not sleeping on your back, and compliance issues while traveling or camping. .
“We’ve had patients who, for unknown reasons, take it off in the middle of the night and wake up in the morning with the mask on the floor,” Mehta said.
Inspire Therapy is not the first surgical option for sleep apnea, said Mehta. But cure rates were “not as good as we hoped” with other procedures and recoveries were longer than with Inspire Therapy, he said.
This cure rate is significant. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to daytime fatigue, heart problems, high blood pressure, liver problems, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and even complications with certain medications and surgery. according to the Mayo Clinic.
Mehta said the oral device is also an option for mild sleep apnea. But because it pulls on the jaw, the oral apparatus can cause temporomandibular disorders and tooth movementsaid Mehta.
Inspire Therapy may also cause side effects. The Mayo Clinic reported “temporary pain at incision sites, transient tongue weakness, and tongue pain” and that “tongue pain improved over time with acclimation, device reprogramming, or both” .
So when elective surgeries were halted at the start of the pandemic, Mehta leaned into Inspire Therapy, he said.
Mehta said he liked the better cure ratesshort recovery time and high compliance that studies showed with the implant.
“We actually don’t do anything in their airways; it’s just a neck procedure,” Mehta said. “It allows the patient to sleep normally without wearing anything outside.”
Sleep study – and a surprise
Meyers said he didn’t know he had sleep apnea. He didn’t snore, wake up at night or feel tired during the day, he said. But Meyers’ wife noticed that he sometimes stopped breathing at night. This alarmed Meyers because his friend with sleep apnea had a stroke.
“He stopped breathing long enough that he eventually had a stroke due to oxygen deprivation to the brain,” Meyers said.
So Meyers did a sleep study and said a doctor told Meyers he stopped breathing 46 times in an hour. Meyers couldn’t believe he was still alive.
“I looked him in the face and said, ‘Why am I still here?’ Meyer said.
Meyers first used a CPAP with “nasal pillows” — but it didn’t work well with his deviated septum, he said.
The full-face mask option did not seal well around his beard and the high-velocity airflow severely dried out his mouth and throat, he said.
So Meyers was excited about the implant option and shrugged off the idea of surgery.
“I’ve had so many surgeries, you can’t scare me anymore,” Meyers said.
Meyers said he had gallbladder surgery in 1997, hiatal hernia repair in 1998, spinal fusion in his lower back in 2012, endoscopic bypass surgery in 2015 and “another round of fusion vertebral” in 2017.
Two weeks before receiving the implant, Meyers had the deviated septum repaired, he said.
For the implant itself, Meyers received two small incisions and said the implant was barely noticeable to him.
“If I was going swimming, for example, I don’t think people would notice,” Meyers said. “But I can obviously feel it.”
For more information, visit inspiresleep.com.