Obstructive Sleep Apnea

According to the WHO, approximately 100 million people worldwide have obstructive sleep apnea, a collapse of the airway that causes pauses in breathing during sleep. (1, 2) In the U.S., obstructive sleep apnea symptoms affect one in four men, and one in nine women.

Untreated obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of death, as well as stroke, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart failure and diabetes. It causes interrupted sleep that leads to excessive daytime sleepiness, resulting in an increased risk of accidents and lost productivity.

The treatment of choice has been for patients to use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask during sleep. The mask is attached to a machine that increases air pressure in the throat to prevent the airway from collapsing. But CPAP, along with other obstructive sleep apnea treatments, is not always successful or well tolerated. Mild electrical neurostimulation of the hypoglossal nerve was approved by the U.S. FDA as a neuromodulation option to treat obstructive sleep apnea in 2014, with a second-generation device receiving approval in 2017. (3)


1. Bousquet J, Khaltaev N. Global surveillance, prevention and control of Chronic Respiratory Diseases. A comprehensive approach. Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases. World Health Organization. 2007. p. 14. http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2007/9789241563468_eng.pdf. Accessed Feb. 6, 2013.

2. Medical News Today. What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)? What Causes Sleep Apnea? http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/178633.php. Accessed Feb. 6, 2013.

3. Inspire Medical Systems, Inc. Inspire Medical Systems Announces FDA Approval of Inspire 3028 Neurostimulator for the Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. https://www.inspiresleep.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Inspire-Medical-Systems-Announces-FDA-Approval-of-Inspire-3028-Neurostimulator-for-the-Treatment-of-OSA.pdf. Accessed May 15, 2018.

Reviewed May 15, 2018
Executive Officer, International Neuromodulation Society, 2011-2019
Hunter Pain Clinic, Broadmeadow, NSW Australia

Last Updated on Sunday, November 21, 2021 08:14 PM