Surgical solution for CPAP? Saint Peter’s offering innovative solution

Inspire sleep therapy includes surgical implant that serves as innovative alternative for patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea

More than 50% of patients who use a CPAP stop using the device because of discomfort — despite its potentially life-saving benefits. The Center for Sleep and Breathing Disorders at Saint Peter’s Healthcare System is trying to change that.

Saint Peter’s University Hospital has introduced Inspire sleep therapy for patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea — a surgical implant that serves as an innovative alternative to the traditional CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure therapy.

Inspire, an FDA-approved implantable upper airway stimulation device, stabilizes a patient’s airway while they are sleeping to prevent obstruction. The device continuously monitors the patient’s breathing patterns and delivers mild stimulation to the airway muscles to keep the airway open during sleep.

Dr. Kianoush Sheykholeslami, chief of ear, nose and throat and head and neck surgery at Saint Peter’s, inserts the implant under the skin of the neck and chest through two small incisions while the patient is under general anesthesia.

It is an outpatient surgical procedure with the possibility of a one-night stay in the hospital. Patients are typically able to resume their daily routines one week after the procedure.

Sheykholeslami said he hopes Inspire sleep therapy can help to reduce or, in some cases, cure sleep apnea while allowing individuals to sleep more peacefully. The impact, he said, can be long-lasting and life-saving.

“I always say that sleep apnea is like water under the foundation of a house. If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause several health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems,” he said. “I’ve performed the procedure on a patient with severe sleep apnea and, since we implanted the device, the patient has experienced significant clinical improvements, including less snoring and weight loss.”

To be eligible for Inspire sleep therapy, patients must have moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, be unable to benefit from CPAP and must not be significantly obese.

If someone meets these criteria, they can get tested at Saint Peter’s Center for Sleep and Breathing Disorders, which includes a sleep endoscopy, to determine final eligibility. Call 732-937-6055 to make an appointment with Saint Peter’s Center for Sleep and Breathing Disorders.