New Device Treats Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea—also called obstructive sleep apnea—affects about 18 million people in the United States, 90 percent of whom are undiagnosed. The condition, in which breathing stops for brief periods during sleep, increases the risk for several health problems.
Treatment for sleep apnea usually involves continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), but this therapy is not effective for everyone with apnea. Some people with moderate or severe sleep apnea may benefit from a relatively new treatment approved by the FDA in 2014.
Called Inspire, this pacemaker-like device consists of a remote-controlled chest implant that monitors breathing and deliver a mild electric current through two thin wires to prevent apnea. In clinical trials, this treatment reduced apnea episodes per hour by 78 percent. Insurance coverage for the implant is determined on a case by case basis.
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