April 28, 2023

A New Procedure at Carney Hospital Improves Sleep Apnea without CPAP Mask

Carney Hospital is now offering an upper airway stimulation therapy called “Inspire,” a breakthrough obstructive sleep apnea treatment option for those who cannot use or tolerate Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy.

Carney Hospital specialists successfully completed the hospital’s first surgical implant of this FDA-approved device on April 25. 

The program is led by Adrian Velasquez, MD, CEO of Sleep Better Clinic, and Michael Schlewet, MD, Chief of Otolaryngology at Carney Hospital. The specialists work collaboratively to determine patient eligibility, develop personalized care plans, and provide pre- and post-implant care to ensure a successful outcome for each patient.

“Inspire is a hypoglossal nerve-stimulating implanted device. It is a state-of-the-art alternative therapy for obstructive sleep apnea patients who cannot use CPAP machine therapy,” said Dr. Schlewet. “This new treatment will benefit many patients who have moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea and are reluctant to sleep with a CPAP machine, or have been unable to tolerate CPAP.”

Inspire works inside the body with a patient’s natural breathing process to treat sleep apnea. Mild stimulation to a specific part of the hypoglossal nerve (the nerve controlling tongue movement) contracts the tongue muscles to bring the tongue forward, which opens the airway during sleep. This allows air to flow more easily through the upper airway. The patient uses a small handheld remote to turn the device on before bed and off when they wake up.

“This technology is a game-changer for those who have poor quality sleep due to sleep apnea,” said Dr. Velasquez.  “Studies have proven that Inspire reduces sleep apnea symptoms.”

The safety and efficacy of the therapy was evaluated during the STAR clinical trial. Five-year STAR trial outcomes show patients using Inspire experience significant reductions in sleep apnea events and significant improvements in quality-of-life measures.

Learn more about Inspire and to request a consultation:

  • If you have already been diagnosed with sleep apnea, and/or have a referral from a sleep specialist: contact the Otolaryngology Division at Carney Hospital at 617-296-7246.
  • If you have not yet been diagnosed with a sleep disorder or sleep apnea but believe you may have sleep issues: contact the Sleep Better Clinic at 617-901-5547.