Highland Hospital offers 'Inspire' device to help sleep apnea patients

    (WHAM photo)

    Rochester, N.Y. – Highland Hospital is offering a new option for people dealing with sleep apnea.

    “Inspire” – an FDA-approved implantable device – stimulates a nerve in patients’ tongues while they sleep, helping keep their airways open.

    Surgery for the implant takes about two to three hours, and doctors say most patients spend only one night in the hospital. The implant includes the placement of a processor underneath a patient’s collarbone, a stimulation lead under the chin and a breathing sensor under the ribs.

    Patients are each given a remote control that turns on the device before they go to sleep.

    "I often tell patients you can think of it as a pacemaker for your tongue," said Dr. Sveta Karelsky, Associate Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology at URMC.

    The hospital says ideal candidates should have moderate to severe sleep apnea and found they did not benefit from a CPAP device. They must also have been part of a sleep study within the past five years and have a BMI of 32 or below.

    Sleep apnea is the obstruction of breathing during sleep. This can cause sleep interruptions - which, in turn, can lead to a number of adverse affects, including cardiovascular diseases and issues.

    "We find that it needs to be treated in order to bring down the risks of those other diseases, not just so that you sleep better and feel better," said Karelsky.

    Those who are interested in learning more about Inspire are asked to call the UR Medicine Sleep Center at 585-341-7575.

    Highland Hospital is the first hospital in our area to offer the Inspire implant. About nine patients have received the implant since late last year.

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