Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center is the first facility in the Baton Rouge metro area to offer a revolutionary new treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that affects more than 18 million Americans.
It’s a condition that Mike Oster knows all too well. “My real problem is that I’m just tired all the time. My sleep doesn’t count,” he said. That’s why he traveled to Our Lady of the Lake from Florida to try a new treatment option — the Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation therapy.
This is the first FDA-approved implantable device for treating obstructive sleep apnea. In contrast to the traditional treatment method of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP, Inspire therapy works from inside the body and with a patient’s natural breathing process.
The system delivers mild stimulation to the nerve that controls the movement of the tongue and other key airway muscles. By stimulating these muscles, the airway remains open during sleep. The device is controlled by a small handheld remote, so it can be turned on before bed and off in the morning. Stimulation strength can be increased and decreased, and also paused during the night if needed. The system includes a small generator, a sensing lead and a stimulation lead.
Candidates for Inspire therapy must be diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and be intolerant of treatment with CPAP. “I mean, I’ve done all kinds of surgeries, I’ve tried pretty much everything,” Mike said. “I’m hoping this one will change my life. One day I’ll be able to wake up and go, ‘Wow, I feel refreshed.’”
Dr. Kevin McLaughlin, ear, nose and throat surgeon with the Head and Neck Center at Our Lady of the Lake, performed the procedure to implant the Inspire device in Mike on October 20, 2017. “About 30 to 40 percent of our patients with obstructive sleep apnea are unable to tolerate or are unwilling to use their CPAP and so they remain untreated,” said Dr. McLaughlin.
“With Inspire therapy, we can offer them an effective solution that’s clinically proven to reduce sleep apnea in patients that struggle with CPAP.”
Mike’s Inspire device will be activated about four weeks post-surgery, at which time Dr. McLaughlin will adjust his personal stimulation settings. Mike will also participate in a sleep study to assure the device is working as it should to meet his individual needs.
Depending on the degree of severity, obstructive sleep apnea can be a potentially life-threatening condition. Research shows that a person with poorly managed sleep apnea is at increased risk for heart attack, stroke, weight gain, high blood pressure and heart failure.
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Inspire therapy is offered at the Our Lady of the Lake Head and Neck Center, where specially-trained physicians provide surgical management and treatment of diseases and disorders of the ear, nose throat and related structures of the head and neck. To learn more about Inspire therapy at Our Lady of the Lake, contact the Head and Neck Center at (225) 765-1765.