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The Future of Sleep Apnea Therapy Could Be Very Different, But Until Then…

January 16, 2014

In our last post, we listed some of the common problems faced by patients who use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to treat sleep apnea. Some of those reasons included dry mouth, congestion, and feelings of claustrophobia.
Because of these and other reasons, only 46-83% of patients using CPAP actually wear their mask, according to a recent New York Times article published this month. But in the future, maybe no one will have to wear a mask at all. The same article notes that a device called a neurostimulator may offer help by stimulating “a nerve in the jaw, helping to keep part of the upper airway open” in sleep apnea patients. The device is implanted in the chest and is compared by the writer to a pacemaker.
In the recently completed study on the device, 126 patients were given a neurostimulator, which they could active at night. The device works specifically by sending “regular electric impulses to a nerve inside the jaw,” which moves the tongue forward when the patient breathes in.
In the results, it was found that breathing cessation dropped dramatically while blood oxygen levels increased.
Neurostimulators haven’t yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, though. So until we know more about this very promising device, the best alternative to CPAP will be an oral appliance.
For years, Dr. Radz has been using oral appliance therapy to help patients from Denver and all surrounding areas sleep peacefully and stop snoring. This simple alternative uses a custom-made mouthpiece to adjust the position of the tongue and lower jaw, keeping airways open so breathing throughout the night is easy.
Is oral appliance therapy right for you? Call Dr. Radz’s Denver office today to schedule a consultation. We serve patients from Englewood, Aurora, Lakewood, Greenwood Village, Centennial, and other nearby communities.

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