A SLEEP poster presentation looked at demographic predictors to determine success of Inspire UAS success in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

A new study finds that increased age and a reduced body mass index (BMI) are predictors of response in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients undergoing upper airway stimulation (UAS). The poster was presented at SLEEP 2018 and the abstract was published recently in an online supplement of the journal Sleep. It was supported by Inspire Medical Systems Inc, makers of the Inspire UAS, the only FDA cleared neurostimulation device for OSA available in the United States to date. The researchers selected patients who had an implanted UAS system—for CPAP intolerant patients with moderate to severe OSA—and followed up at 6 and 12 months post-implant.

“We were trying to collect data on a large set of patients undergoing UAS and potentially see which factors predict good outcome,” says Richard Schwab, MD, an author of the study. “We found that both increased age and a reduced BMI helped patients do better.” Overall, 80% of patients in the study were deemed UAS successes.

The research team also looked at baseline apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) but found it wasn’t a significant predictor.

While more research would need to be done to tell whether age and BMI are the main predictors of UAS therapy success, Schwab says it’s important to note an underlying message. “It’s probably too early to just assume that these are the primary predictors. But I do think one of the messages here is that upper airway stimulation works pretty well for sleep apnea overall,” he says.

In the future, Schwab says he’d like to get a better look at what’s actually happening in these patients. “We now need to understand exactly what’s happening to these patients themselves, to their upper airway, rather than just looking at a registry,” he says. “That’s what needs to be done next.”

Dillon Stickle is associate editor of Sleep Review.