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A new outpatient treatment for adults with sleep apnea may help ensure a better night’s sleep without the use of a mask or invasive surgery. The FDA-approved therapy called Inspire is now offered for those with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Alvarado Hospital is the first site in San Diego—and one of the first in the U.S.—to offer this therapy.

It is estimated that sleep apnea affects approximately 1 in every 15 Americans. People who have an untreated case of sleep apnea face a risk of stroke that is four times as likely as those who are not afflicted. Untreated sleep apnea sufferers are also three times as likely to have heart disease.

Inspire therapy utilizes first-of-its-kind technology—a small, fully implanted system that has been clinically proven to significantly reduce sleep apnea events. Similar to a small pacemaker, Inspire therapy is implanted into the upper chest, and the technology senses breathing patterns and delivers mild stimulation to key airway muscles, which keeps the airway open during sleep. It’s installed during outpatient surgery and can be wirelessly turned off and on by the patient using a remote.

“We believe that this therapy represents a major advance in sleep apnea treatment, especially for vulnerable patients who cannot achieve benefit from CPAP,” said Dr. Brian Weeks, the first San Diego physician trained to offer this procedure. “Untreated moderate-to-severe OSA places patients at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, accidents and death. Inspire therapy provides us with an effective new treatment to use in a select group of our CPAP-intolerant patient population.

“Inspire therapy is a promising new treatment option for people that are not receiving consistent benefits from continuous positive airway pressure. Many people find they cannot tolerate the CPAP mask due to an ill fit or claustrophobia,” Dr. Weeks of the Senta Clinic added.