McCook man claims new lease on life after surgical procedure to repair sleep apnea

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – A McCook man has a new lease on life thanks to a new sleep apnea device and Lincoln doctor.

Harold Pearson has had sleep apnea for decades, struggling with it since his mid-thirties. He said he needed another option, because his C-PAP mask no longer helped.

“I literally couldn’t’ sleep with it anymore so I had to find a different option,” Pearson said. “I was on Pinterest one day and saw the inspire thing and ‘oh whats that’ started looking at it and here I am.”

The device is called Inspire, and is designed to help those with moderate to severe sleep apnea. dr Aaron Robinson, an ENT Doctor at CHI Health performed his first procedure with Inspire in December.

“The way that this device works is instead of using air to stent open the airway we stimulate a nerve in the neck that moves the tongue out of the way and opens up, stiffens up the airway,” Dr. Robinson said.

dr Robinson made two small incisions in Pearson’s neck and chest. A small cuff was placed around the nerve that controls the tongue and throat, and a pace-maker sized device is placed in the chest to help patients breathe by sending signals to the nerve.

“It allows people to have another option,” Dr. Robinson said.

About a month after , Pearson’s device was activated and now at 61 years old, Pearson said he has his energy back and can finally sleep at night.

Now he’s able to use a remote to activate the Inspire device in his chest and sleep without or fear of stopped breathing.

“I think this is going to be great for a lot of people it’s so easy.” Pearson said. “You don’t have the hose you don’t have the mask, you don’t have this thing you’re carrying around if you’re on vacation. I can go camping, I can go camping in a tent if I want to because this is all I have to take.”

dr Robinson said the three criteria to qualify are 1) intolerance to C-PAP machines, 2) moderate to severe sleep apnea and 3) a BMI of 21 on private insurance or 35 on medicare.

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