Northside Hospital, located in Atlanta, is treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with Inspire therapy, a new FDA-approved option.

Northside Hospital, located in Atlanta, is treating obstructive sleep apnea  with Inspire therapy, a new FDA-approved option. Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation is a small, fully implanted system that has been clinically proven to reduce sleep apnea events as well as significantly improve quality of life measures, according to the manufacturer. Samuel Mickelson, MD, who is on staff at Northside Hospital and was the lead investigator for the Inspire clinical trial in Georgia, performed the first Inspire surgery in the state in 2011.

The Inspire system senses breathing patterns and delivers mild stimulation to key airway muscles, which keeps the airway open during sleep. The surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure that is considered minimally invasive because it does not require removal or permanent alteration of facial and airway anatomy. Northside Hospital considers it is a promising new treatment option for people who are not tolerating or receiving consistent benefits from CPAP.

The system was approved by the FDA for people age 22 years and older. Andrew Gould, MD, a surgeon who performed the first Inspire implant in Kentucky, says the goal of the treatment is “to improve a person’s sleep and then also their health because when you treat someone’s untreated sleep apnea, other disease processes improve.” Gould adds that a person’s “work productivity improves” and they can avoid getting into accidents related to sleepiness, according to a news report from The Courier-Journal.

The results of the STAR trial, a clinical study conducted at 22 medical centers in the United States and Europe, showed that the therapy reduced apnea events by 68% and considerably improved key quality of life measures. The trial results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Mickelson says, “This is exciting news for the hundreds of patients currently suffering from moderate or severe sleep apnea that cannot take advantage of traditional methods to control their condition. A good night’s sleep is important to maintaining overall health and this procedure opens doors for many people that otherwise have not had a full night of rest in years.”

Cassandra Perez is associate editor of Sleep Review. CONTACT [email protected]