YOUR HEALTH: Inspire device brings life-changing sleep

Now, there is a tiny, implantable device placed into the chest and according to some users, it’s been a lifesaver for people with sleep apnea.
Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 7:41 AM CDT
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BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Sleep apnea—ceasing or struggling to breathe while asleep—is a serious condition that can lead to heart disease and even lung damage. CPAP machines are routinely prescribed to keep continuous airflow going, but they are bulky, noisy, and claustrophobic. But now, there is a tiny, implantable device placed into the chest and according to some users, it’s been a lifesaver.

Roger Schwalm is one of the 6 million people who every night, strap on a mask, hooked into a bulky hose, hooked into a big CPAP machine just to breathe while they’re asleep.

“It only lets me sleep really good, on most cases, maybe three, four hours a night, and then it gets so painful, I have to take it off,” Roger said.

CPAP non-compliance is a huge problem. The causes are many—claustrophobia, noise, whistling at 3 a.m.

“It was just annoying and it was like, sometimes, I just wanted to throw it across the room,” Roger’s wife, Linda recalled.

When patients fail to use their CPAP, apnea can lead to pulmonary hypertension, decreased concentration, fatigue, and even non-alcoholic liver disease. So, some users are trying an implantable device called Inspire for alternative treatment.

“What the Inspire has done for people is it, basically, unshackles them from being stuck in bed. Basically, there’s a battery pack, or a power pack, that gets implanted between the second and third rib on the right side of the chest,” explained Dr. Joshua Dunklebarger, an otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon for WellSpan Health.

Two attached wires—one in the chest and one in the neck—sense and trigger the breathing response. Once implanted, the device remains for 12 years before the battery pack is replaced. A remote controls the little device that has a huge payback, according to Linda.

“I just sleep, and, it’s just been amazing for me. The change in my life,” Linda exclaimed.

It’s smart to check with your insurance companies, including Medicare, some of which will pay for CPAP equipment, as well as the Inspire device. That’s a good thing, as both devices cost thousands of dollars each.

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