I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea about 13 years ago when I underwent surgery for a rotator cuff tear. The oxygen monitor showed I was not getting adequate oxygen during my recovery, which raised the alarm to my doctors. I am also a heart patient, so this was of considerable concern.
My ENT, Dr. Chris Thompson, Capital Otolaryngology, scheduled me for a sleep test which confirmed his diagnosis of sleep apnea. Over the years he’s performed surgery on my sinuses and removed my uvula in an attempt to correct the condition, and tried various oral devices, to no avail. I was prescribed a CPAP machine which was only partially effective as I could never find a mask that was comfortable enough to wear every night, and did not leak. If I didn’t use the CPAP, I snored loudly through the mouth, which kept my wife, a very light sleeper, awake. If I did use it, the noise of the machine and the mask leaking also kept her awake. In addition, I travel frequently and it was a pain to carry the CPAP through airport security and on the plane. Mostly I just left it home due to the inconvenience.
I continued to feel sleepy during the day and especially in the evenings. The only way I could manage was by continually drinking coffee or other caffeine drinks. It was hard to concentrate and I was lethargic. The minute I sat down on the couch in the evening I fell asleep.
When Inspire Therapy was approved by the FDA, Dr. Thompson attended a conference in Dallas, where he learned about the therapy. He immediately called me and told me he thought he had a solution. He explained that the Inspire device is a repurposed cardiac pacemaker that is implanted in the upper right chest. Two small wires are attached, one leads to the right side of the chest cavity to monitor breathing, and the other to the large nerve in the neck that controls the movement of the tongue. This nerve is stimulated as needed to move the tongue forward during sleep and open the airway to the throat. It is turned on by a small device similar to a television remote and only activated during sleep.
Dr. Thompson tested me and confirmed that I was a good candidate for Inspire. I had my surgery in October of 2014 at Westlake Medical Center in West Lake Hills (Austin suburb). The surgery took about 2 hours in the excellent West Lake facility. It was a walk in the park compared to any other surgery I’ve experienced. I was home by noon and never took a pain pill, not so much as a Tylenol. The only “recovery” was the healing of the 3 small (1-2 inch) scars. I was back at work the following day.
There is a 30-day waiting period for internal healing before the device is actually activated. This is a quick painless procedure done in the doctor’s office to determine the settings for the implanted device, which is a repurposed pacemaker, the kind that has been used by cardiac patients for decades. It worked perfectly for me the first night, but over the next few nights the impulse became too intense, so I made an appointment to have it adjusted. I believe that when the device was initially calibrated, my nerve had not completely healed and became more sensitive over time. In any case, the return appointment resolved the issue; the device was recalibrated to send a weaker impulse, and has worked perfectly since then. I had a follow up sleep test that showed I was sleeping soundly and my oxygen level had increased to a normal range. An added benefit is that my mouth breathing and snoring has stopped.
The effects of the therapy have been dramatic. In addition to resolving my snoring, I have much more energy, don’t feel sleepy all the time and don’t have to worry about the effect on my heart health. My cardiologist has been a strong supporter as well.
But the best part of all has been getting rid of my CPAP machine. I’m thinking of having it retrofitted as a boat anchor.
Ditto - I have the Inspire device and am considering having my CPAP retrofitted as a boat anchor.
Go to InspireSleep.com I have one of these and have been able to ditch my CPAP forever.
My name is Bill, I was diagnosed over 10 years ago and fought CPAP for years before finding a better solution.