The treatment, called Inspire, consists of a small device implanted just underneath the skin in the neck and chest. It monitors breathing and sends a pulse to gently move the tongue and open the airway each time the patient takes a breath. This allows the patient to breathe freely throughout the night.
“Not everyone’s a candidate for it,” Sonnenburg says. “There are fairly specific criteria as to the severity of their sleep apnea, the type of sleep apnea … so it is something that people really have to be evaluated for.”
The device worked wonders for Katie Lancelle, one of Sonnenburg’s patients. She has Down syndrome and struggled to use a CPAP, the traditional mask and machine used to treat sleep apnea.
“We just hit a button and she gets good sleep. It’s just so important,” says Katie’s mother, Nancy Lancelle.
The full interview is available online. Watch it here.
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