Do you know that a breathing problem during sleep can be an indication of a sleep disorder called sleep apnea? Follow this article to learn about an innovative treatment called Inspire sleep used to deal with this disorder, including Inspire sleep’s pros and cons.
Your inability to sleep at night can be an indication of a health problem or disorder. One of the sleep disorders called Obstructive sleep apnea causes breathing problems by blocking the upper airway of your body.
There are two major treatment options available for obstructive sleep apnea: CPAP therapy and Inspire sleep therapy. CPAP therapy being a bulky device, has shifted the attention of people towards Inspire sleep therapy which works in a more efficient manner and has a higher adherence rate.
In this article, you will learn about the functionality of Inspire sleep complexities attached to this treatment so that one can analyze if he should consider this treatment, including Inspire sleep pros and cons.
Table of Contents
What is Inspire sleep?
A large number of people all around the world have been suffering from sleep apnea which is a breathing disorder where a person’s respiration collapses. This happens when the signaling from the brain stops for a few seconds in the middle of his sleep and disrupts his sleep. There are three categories of sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome.
It not only interrupts your sleep and increases the risk of daytime sleepiness but also increases the risk of choking and snoring during sleep as it blocks the upper airway of the human respiratory system. If it is left untreated, it can further give birth to several other health issues. To deal with this breathing disorder, a treatment called Inspire sleep apnea innovation has been introduced so that your sleep quality can be enhanced and the risk of further health problems is decreased. However, it can not work for all types of sleep apnea and is only designed to treat obstructive sleep apnea.
It is a surgical treatment where a device-like stimulation is placed on your chest to open your airway and make sure the signaling does not disrupt your breathing when you are asleep. This process is called hypoglossal nerve stimulation therapy. You can not find yourself eligible for it as there is an eligibility requirement that one has to meet, and it will only be decided by the doctor if you can go for this therapy.
How does it work?
Your doctor will examine your condition and recommend this treatment to you after making sure that it is safe for you. He will then set up an outpatient procedure session in an ambulatory surgery center. This device will be implanted into your body under general anesthesia and will be then checked by the doctor to see if the stimulation is working properly in your body. So you can turn it on when you go to sleep.
The battery of this stimulation is placed under your collarbone as it is connected to the hypoglossal nerve of your body and stimulates the airway muscles present in the respiratory passage to not block the air. The stimulation will force your tongue in the forward direction so that it clears the pathway for respiration, and you are able to breathe easily. They will perform an electrical test to check the working of the device in your body to ensure that the device is in sync with the correct tongue movements.
It is a smooth and painless process where your sleep does not get disturbed. When you breathe in your sleep, the device will send a signal to your hypoglossal nerve and keep your airway open for constant breathing and cancel the effect of sleep apnea. The electrical stimulations sent by this device do not make any noise, so you do not need to worry about your sleep getting disturbed because of it.
When you activate it for the first time, you might feel your muscles reacting to the stimulation leaving you with a tingling sensation, but after a while, your muscles get used to it. Moreover, You might feel bruising around your tongue, but it will also be there for only a few days. It is convenient to use because the inspire device does not remain turned on all the time, as you can easily turn it on with a remote when you are going to sleep and then turn it off when you wake up.
Who is a good candidate for Inspire?
There are certain specifications related to inspire sleep therapy that do not allow everyone to add it into their life. The major aspects based on which your doctor will recommend this treatment to you are listed below:
- If you want to treat your sleep apnea via the surgical procedure, as all the other options have failed to benefit you
- It is important that your diagnosis is not older than two years. However, that diagnosis should prove that your Obstructive Sleep Apnea is moderate to severe and not mild.
- You have considered CPAP therapy, and it has not shown any visible results.
- It requires you to have a (BMI) body mass index of 32-35 or less.
- You are 18 years old or above, and you should not be significantly obese.
Who should not use Inspire for sleep apnea?
Not everyone with sleep apnea is allowed to consider inspire sleep therapy. It depends on your medical condition and the circumstances that can cause you harm rather than help you, so you need to always confirm from your doctor whether you are eligible for this treatment. Some of those conditions are listed below:
- If you are younger than 18 years, then you will not be allowed to use inspire sleep.
- A doctor will examine your skeletal condition, and if it does not meet the requirement, then you will not be allowed to use inspire sleep. For instance, if you have a recessed or smaller jaw area, it will make it risky to implant the device.
- If you have any allergies in your nasal area and it is contributing to the blockage of the air, then you will not be allowed to use inspire sleep.
- If you have undergone an enlarged tonsil, then the doctor will recommend other treatment options rather than allowing you to use inspire sleep.
- If you are suffering from any neuromuscular abnormality related to the respiratory system, then your doctor will not allow you to use inspire sleep.
- If your condition can be treated through CPAP, then your doctor will recommend CPAP instead of inspire therapy.
- You will not be allowed to use inspire sleep if you have been diagnosed with a different type of sleep apnea than obstructive sleep apnea
- If you have a concentric collapse of the soft palate, then you will not be allowed to use inspire sleep therapy.
- If you are pregnant or intend to get pregnant, then you will not be allowed to use inspire sleep.
- If you already have an implant device in your body, then you will not be allowed to use inspire sleep.
Is Inspire safe?
The implantation requires outpatient surgery, so there is a risk of bruising, dry mouth, partial tongue paralysis, temporary tongue weakness, headache, stimulation discomfort, and tongue soreness involved in the initial days of its implantation, but it is most likely to heal after a few days when your body will get used to it. However, doctors can also help you deal with these conditions by prescribing medication or by changing the setting on the device.
If your body reacts negatively to the stimulation, then there can be a risk of nerve damage, damage to blood vessels, and other allergies. Moreover, there is another possibility of incorrect implantation of the device, which can cause infection and discomfort in the body, so in this case, you will need to undergo another surgery to locate it in the correct area.
Pros of Inspire sleep therapy
This therapy is widely preferred by people dealing with sleep apnea due to its advantages and effectiveness. Some of the major pros of this device are listed below:
Simple to operate:
Anyone can easily operate it as its activation is simple and effortless, which just requires it to be turned on with a click of a button on your remote control. You do not need to run to the doctor for its activation every day as it can easily be activated by the person using it, so you can even travel with it to any other place and operate it without the guidance of any sort like other complex devices require, such as CPAP machines. Even if the person is physically disabled, he can simply turn it on and does not need a helping hand to operate it.
Unobstructed daily activities:
This stimulation device does not require you to give attention to its management the whole day, which further becomes an extra load in daily life. You can carry out all your activities, including running, swimming, eating, etc without having to worry about the implantation getting disturbed. Even when you are traveling, you can easily carry the remote with you anywhere and do not have to worry about carrying any bulky machine.
Moreover, when a person gets uninterrupted sleep every night, it strengthens their immune system and increases energy to carry out daily activities the next day.
A secure surgical procedure:
You need to visit a certified doctor if you intend to implant this device, and the doctor needs to examine your physical condition to make sure it is suitable for you. Therefore, it is a safe procedure where you have to undergo an inspection so that the doctor can prohibit the surgery if there is any other risk involved or if there is a chance of it harming you. Moreover, the doctor after your surgery includes a follow-up inspection session to ensure the implantation is not harming your health.
Inspire sleep implantation is an outpatient surgery, so it is convenient and saves you time. You can get done with your surgery within a few hours and can go back to your home the same day. A small battery-operated device is implanted by the doctor, and you are guided by the precautions so that it does not cause any obstruction.
Ease of maintenance:
Initially, your doctor can ask you to visit him frequently for follow-up sessions to make sure of the stimulation. Once the person becomes comfortable with the stimulation and the device starts working properly, check-up sessions will be arranged after every year. In these check-up sessions, your battery life will also be inspected so that you can calculate the duration left to replace it with a new one after a short procedure. The average battery life of this device lasts for 8-10 years.
When CPAP treatment does not benefit a person, he is recommended to go for Inspire sleep therapy as it works more efficiently. Most people prefer Inspire sleep therapy over any other therapy or treatment to get the desired results because of its efficient performance and secure process.
Cons of Inspire sleep therapy:
Inspire sleep is a preferred treatment for sleep apnea, but there are some drawbacks attached to this innovation. These drawbacks are listed below:
Short-term health issues:
As implantation is a surgical process, it involves complexities. The gadget is implanted into your body through incisions, so there is a risk of incorrect implantation. Some people experience discomfort or tongue weakness for a few days after the surgery. Moreover, depending on the stimulating device is a risk because any loose connection of the device can affect the stimulation.
Requires MRI support:
Some of the inspire sleep therapy devices do not support MRI scans which are required to keep in check potential health risks that can arise as the tissues connected to the device are at risk of damage. Hence, one can not rely on every version of this device and has to make sure that the device being used is compatible with MRI scans so that it can be easier for your doctor to keep an eye on the functionality of the device and your body’s reaction to it.
It is an expensive device that costs more than its counterpart treatments, such as CPAP therapy, so an average person will find it difficult to avail of the treatment. The device and surgical procedure together are out of the reach of many people. However, subsidies are provided by health insurance companies to ease people and provide better health facilities.
The functionality of the device depends on the battery, so if the battery life runs out, the patient will need to visit the doctor for an invasive surgery through which a new battery is inserted into the device. Although the battery life can last for 8-10 years, being a piece of machinery, any sort of inconvenience will affect the functionality of the device.
The device does not turn on without a remote, so it will remain turned off until you reach out to its remote and turn it on. This is a convenient aspect, but it can become a problem because you need to constantly keep the remote control with you as the device will not work without it.
Is Inspire therapy better than CPAP therapy?
Two of the widely opted treatments to deal with sleep apnea are CPAP (continuous positive pressure device) and Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation (UAS). The working of it is somewhat similar as both the devices keep your airway open for easy breathing when you sleep so that your sleep does not get interrupted.
However, they are not completely similar, which is why only a doctor can recommend to you which one to use after examining your condition. CPAP consists of a mask, hoses, and a bulky device making noises, whereas, in Inspire sleep therapy, a small device is implanted in your body to alert the airway of your body for gentle stimulation.
Moreover, the working of Inspire sleep also differs from CPAP machines. Inspire sleep therapy stimulates the hypoglossal nerve connected to your tongue, which keeps your airways open by moving your tongue muscles so that breathing does not get obstructed. CPAP, on the contrary, does not directly stimulate the nerves but opens airways by forcing a stream of pressurized air.
Inspire sleep therapy is considered more effective as, in many cases, when CPAP therapy fails to carry out results, doctors recommend the person shift to Inspire sleep therapy. Hence, Inspire sleep therapy has a higher adherence rate as compared to CPAP. More people prefer Inspire sleep therapy because it is easier to maintain and more effective.
Does Inspire stop snoring?
People snore due to uneven flow of breathing, and it can irritate the person sleeping next time. Inspire sleep therapy unblocks the airway and makes it easy for the person to sleep and get rid of snoring. Therefore, people after Inspire sleep therapy have experienced a decrease in their snoring.
Inspire sleep cost
Inspire sleep therapy is an expensive treatment option compared to other available counterparts. The device alone costs around $20,000, and with the additional cost of surgery, it costs around $30,000 for someone to get this treatment. Although the battery life of the device can last up to 10 years, new battery implantation along with follow-up sessions can be counted as additional costs which are a part of the treatment.
However, there are some medical aids provided by the state to ensure that you get your medical facilities within your budget. The private insurance providers also have initiated some programs to make the Inspire sleep therapy easier for you. The doctor professionally trained in Inspire sleep therapy can discuss the insurance coverage requirements with you to help you go with the most suitable option. Some of the hospitals also support payments made via installments so that it does not become a burden for a person and payment is cleared over a period of time.
Inspire sleep therapy, also called hypoglossal nerve stimulation therapy, is used to treat a sleeping disorder, “obstructive sleep apnea”. This technological advancement has relieved a person from interrupted sleep as it targets the nerve of your respiratory system and makes sure that natural breathing continues without any blockage until it is turned on. There are some conditions linked to this treatment that you must consider, as not everyone is not considered eligible for it.
People have opted for this treatment for ease and effectiveness as it has benefited people in a couple of ways. The device is easier to use and the surgical procedure is simple, but there are some health risks attached to it. Hence, one should always discuss with this doctor about all the aspects before considering this treatment so as to avoid any risks.