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Implantable Device Reduces Episodes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
January 9, 2014

Implantable Device Reduces Episodes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

By Joe Elia

Patients with obstructive sleep apnea unresponsive to continuous positive airway pressure may benefit from an implantable device that stimulates a nerve involved with airway patency.

Researchers, writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, conducted a two-part trial sponsored by the device manufacturer.

They first recruited 126 patients with moderate-to-severe sleep apnea and BMIs under 32, and implanted a hypoglossal nerve-stimulating device in their upper chest. After 1 year, the average number of episodes of apnea or hypopnea per hour fell from about 29 to 9. There was a similar drop in episodes of oxygen desaturation.

Next, the stimulators were randomly shut off for a week in a subgroup of patients who'd responded successfully to nerve stimulation. Their episodes of apnea and hypopnea increased by 18 per hour, compared with only 2 per hour among those whose stimulators were left on.

An editorialist concludes that the results provide a rationale for conducting definitive studies.

Reader Comments (2)

Antonio Jiménez Physician, Pulmonary Medicine, H.M. Valdecilla. Santander. Spain

The BMI isn't typical of "normal" patient with OSAHS, the selection criteria exclude the patients with BMI major of 32, that, of course is the typical BMI. The AHI residual isn't normal (9).

Lucero Cecilia Physician, Neurology

Thank you for information

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