The first sleep pacemaker in California and the Western United States was implanted at Osborne Head and Neck Institute, Los Angeles, California, on November 17, 2014. The patient has had a remarkable recovery and improvement in symptoms.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a serious condition, where the body receives inadequate oxygenation during sleep. Muscular collapse of the airway during sleep results in obstruction and cessation of breathing. During the period of time when breathing is halted, blood oxygen levels decrease. This is referred to as apnea. The body reacts to apneic events by rousing itself from sleep and disturbing the normal sleep cycle. Sleep apnea can often lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, distractibility, mood changes, and memory problems in the short term. Long-term effects of untreated OSA are associated with high blood pressure, cardiac disease, and stroke.

Historically, OSA has been extremely difficult to treat. Despite knowledge of the risks of untreated sleep apnea, patients often elect to forego treatment. This is usually because treatment options are suboptimal and can include uncomfortable masks, pressurized breathing machines (CPAP), or painful surgery.

The FDA has recently approved a new, fully-implantable device for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. The most successful device on the market is made by Inspire Medical Systems, and consists of a pacemaker-type generator that stimulates key airway muscles to prevent obstruction during sleep. This upper airway stimulation (UAS) allows for continuous oxygenation during sleep and resolution of apneas.

The device has shown remarkable success, with all implanted patients exhibiting significant improvement in measurements related to sleep apnea. During a simple, outpatient procedure, a thin stimulating wire is wrapped around the nerve responsible contraction of the tongue muscles. This wire is then connected to a pulse generator in the upper chest and a breathing sensor near the rib muscles. By keeping airway muscles open, patients are able to discontinue use of continuous airway pressure machines (CPAP). Risks of OSA-related diseases, such as stroke, cardiac arrhythmias, and hypertension are significantly decreased with successful treatment. Further, snoring resolves in most patients, resulting in an improved quality of sleep for the patient and their bed partner.

sleep-apnea-pacemaker-implant

Figure: Depiction of a patient with an upper airway stimulation implant. UAS therapy consists of a small generator that is placed in the chest much like a pacemaker. A thin connection is made from the generator to key airway muscle nerves. An additional connection is made to muscles along the rib cage to monitor respiration.

The first sleep pacemaker in the Western United States was implanted at Osborne Head and Neck Institute on November 17th, 2014. Followed by the second on November 18th, 2014. The patients have both gone on to have remarkable improvements after their uncomplicated surgery.

“Sleep apnea as a disease is difficult, with the significant health problems that accompany it. What has made it even worse are the treatment options, which have been marginally effective at best and ineffective and intolerable at worst. With this new device, we have addressed most of the major issues surrounding the care of sleep apnea. There is now an effective and well-tolerated option for patients who struggle with sleep apnea.”
– Dr. Ryan Osborne, Director of the Division of Head and Neck Surgery at Osborne and Neck Institute.

To learn more about Dr. Ryan Osborne or obstructive sleep apnea evaluation and treatment, please visit http://ohnisleepapneatreatment.com/.

Contact a Physician at Osborne Head & Neck Institute

If you would like to speak with one of our physicians regarding this issue or another ear, nose, throat problem; or have other questions or concerns, please complete the contact form below or call us at 310-657-0123.

You May Also Like:

Boxer’s Ear: Can your ear explode?

by Dr. Ryan Osborne
Thumbnail image for Boxer’s Ear: Can your ear explode?

About the Author More ArticlesAbout Dr. Ryan OsborneRyan F. Osborne, M.D. is the Director of Head and Neck Surgery at OHNI and is an internationally renowned expert in head and neck oncology. He has developed a special interest for the treatment of parotid gland tumors and focuses on the use of minimally-invasive techniques in the […]

Read the full article →

Outpatient Surgical Center Safety

by Tanitha Ulanowski
Thumbnail image for Outpatient Surgical Center Safety

About the Author More ArticlesAbout Tanitha UlanowskiTanitha Ulanowski, CRNA is Director of Anesthesia for the Osborne Head and Neck Institute. Tanitha is a board certified anesthesia provider with years of experience in her field. Her continued interest in furthering patient care has led to her implementation of specialized protocols that ensure optimal patient comfort. The […]

Read the full article →

Mega-perforation: Pushing the Limits of Septal Perforation Repair

by Dr. Jason Hamilton
Thumbnail image for Mega-perforation: Pushing the Limits of Septal Perforation Repair

About the Author More ArticlesAbout Dr. Jason HamiltonJason S. Hamilton, M.D. is the Director of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery for the Osborne Head and Neck Institute based at Cedar-Sinai Medical Towers. Dr. Hamilton has advanced training in plastic and reconstructive surgical techniques involving the face, head, and neck, and limits his practice to the treatment […]

Read the full article →

Septoplasty Complication and Septal Perforation

by Dr. Jason Hamilton
Thumbnail image for Septoplasty Complication and Septal Perforation

About the Author More ArticlesAbout Dr. Jason HamiltonJason S. Hamilton, M.D. is the Director of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery for the Osborne Head and Neck Institute based at Cedar-Sinai Medical Towers. Dr. Hamilton has advanced training in plastic and reconstructive surgical techniques involving the face, head, and neck, and limits his practice to the treatment […]

Read the full article →

Nose Picking (Rhinotillexis) and Septal Perforations: Why I should stop picking my nose…?

by Dr. Jason Hamilton
Thumbnail image for Nose Picking (Rhinotillexis) and Septal Perforations: Why I should stop picking my nose…?

About the Author More ArticlesAbout Dr. Jason HamiltonJason S. Hamilton, M.D. is the Director of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery for the Osborne Head and Neck Institute based at Cedar-Sinai Medical Towers. Dr. Hamilton has advanced training in plastic and reconstructive surgical techniques involving the face, head, and neck, and limits his practice to the treatment […]

Read the full article →

Voice Case of the Week: Sometimes it is Reflux

by Dr. Reena Gupta
Thumbnail image for Voice Case of the Week: Sometimes it is Reflux

About the Author More ArticlesAbout Dr. Reena GuptaDr. Reena Gupta is the Director of the Division of Voice and Laryngology at OHNI. Dr. Gupta has devoted her practice to the care of patients with voice problems. She is board certified in otolaryngology and laryngology and fellowship trained in laryngology, specializing in the care of the […]

Read the full article →

New Sublingual Allergy Tablets

by Dr. Belinda Mantle
Thumbnail image for New Sublingual Allergy Tablets

About the Author More ArticlesAbout Dr. Belinda MantleDr. Mantle’s practice is focused on the diagnosis and management of pediatric patients with common ears, nose and throat disorders. She pursued sub-specialty training in pediatric otolaryngology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Dr. Mantle is fellowship-trained in pediatric otolaryngology and is a board-certified diplomate of the American Academy […]

Read the full article →

Voice Case of the Week: Larynx Injury from Inhalation

by Dr. Reena Gupta
Thumbnail image for Voice Case of the Week: Larynx Injury from Inhalation

About the Author More ArticlesAbout Dr. Reena GuptaDr. Reena Gupta is the Director of the Division of Voice and Laryngology at OHNI. Dr. Gupta has devoted her practice to the care of patients with voice problems. She is board certified in otolaryngology and laryngology and fellowship trained in laryngology, specializing in the care of the […]

Read the full article →

Voice Case of the Week: When Nodules Need Surgery

by Dr. Reena Gupta
Thumbnail image for Voice Case of the Week: When Nodules Need Surgery

About the Author More ArticlesAbout Dr. Reena GuptaDr. Reena Gupta is the Director of the Division of Voice and Laryngology at OHNI. Dr. Gupta has devoted her practice to the care of patients with voice problems. She is board certified in otolaryngology and laryngology and fellowship trained in laryngology, specializing in the care of the […]

Read the full article →

Voice Case of the Week: Who Needs a Laryngeal Surgeon?

by Dr. Reena Gupta
Thumbnail image for Voice Case of the Week: Who Needs a Laryngeal Surgeon?

About the Author More ArticlesAbout Dr. Reena GuptaDr. Reena Gupta is the Director of the Division of Voice and Laryngology at OHNI. Dr. Gupta has devoted her practice to the care of patients with voice problems. She is board certified in otolaryngology and laryngology and fellowship trained in laryngology, specializing in the care of the […]

Read the full article →