What is Inspire for Sleep Apnea? What it’s best to know concerning the new remedy

Inspire sleep apnea innovations

Around 22 million Americans have sleep apnea. Traditional continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP machines can be noisy, uncomfortable, and have an annoying mask and hose attached to the machine. For some, sleeping with a CPAP machine is impossible. Although it may seem like a minor annoyance that might keep your partner up at night, there are several serious side effects of sleep apnea if left untreated, including high blood pressure, strokes, and heart problems.

Now there is a new alternative to CPAP machines. The Inspire upper airway stimulation system is the latest in obstructive sleep apnea treatment. By stimulating tongue and airway muscles, Inspire aims to treat the underlying cause sleep apneanot just the symptoms.

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What is Inspire for Sleep Apnea?

First, let’s talk about it what sleep apnea is. It is a sleep disorder characterized by frequent pauses in breathing that can last anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds. It is also often accompanied by loud snoring.

There are three main types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea occurs because the tongue and airway muscles relax and block your airway.
  • Central sleep apnea is a brain-to-muscle signaling problem.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome is the least type. Think of it as a hybrid of obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Note: Inspire is only for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea; It does not treat central sleep apnea.

The Inspire sleep apnea device is an FDA-cleared surgical implant that is placed under the skin on your chest. Although this may sound intimidating, it is an outpatient procedure. Numerous clinical have found Inspire to be safe and effective in treating OSA. A recent study found that Inspire resulted in a 79% reduction in sleep apnea events.

How does Inspire work?

The Inspire device delivers what’s called “hypoglossal nerve stimulation therapy” while you sleep. Once implanted, Inspire connects to two locations in your body. The first is the hypoglossal nerve, which stimulates the tongue and airway muscles, which open your airways. The second is connected to the ribs near the diaphragm. This allows the device to monitor your breathing at night.

Every time you breathe, the Inspire device sends an impulse to the hypoglossal nerve. This fights sleep apnea by keeping your airways open. According to Inspire, the stimulation is subtle and not meant to wake you up, meaning it shouldn’t be painful or uncomfortable.

Inspire doesn’t constantly send impulses to your nerves. Instead, you can control it remotely. It is recommended that you turn it on at night and turn it off when you wake up for your day.

What Is Inspire For Sleep Apnea?  What It's Best To Know Concerning The New Remedy

Inspire sleep apnea innovations

Benefits of the Inspire device

  • The impulses sent to the hypoglossal nerve prevent your muscles and tongue from collapsing into the airway, dramatically reducing breath interruptions.
  • It can reduce snoring and daytime sleepiness.
  • It reduces the likelihood of long-term complications associated with sleep apnea — stroke, liver problems, heart attack, and type 2 diabetes.
  • The battery lasts seven to ten years.

things to consider

  • It is only permitted to persons who are 18 years of age or older.
  • To receive the implant, you must have moderate to severe OSA and not benefit from a CPAP machine.
  • It is not recommended for those who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  • It’s also not recommended for people with “impaired neurological control” of the upper airway, according to the FDA.
  • There are associated with the surgery and the device itself, including tongue abrasion and discomfort (more on this below).

How much does the Inspire implant cost?

“A patient’s financial responsibility varies based on the specifics of their individual insurance plan,” Inspire told CNET. “In general, most patients only have to pay the applicable deductibles and co-payments that exist for their insurance plan.”

According to Inspire’s website, it’s covered by most insurance providers. Exact deductible costs depend on your insurance plan. Keep in mind that this is an outpatient procedure, so there are some medical bills to consider.

However, as an example, the pricing page states that a person on traditional Medicare should expect to pay a maximum of $1,400 out of pocket if the procedure is performed in the hospital.

You can expect a total bill of around $30,000 to $40,000 for both the surgery and the device costs, but that’s before your insurance kicks in. I can’t say exactly how much you’ll end up paying – it depends a lot on your insurance plan and deductible. If you’re interested in Inspire, it’s best to speak to your provider to discuss your options.

What Is Inspire For Sleep Apnea?  What It's Best To Know Concerning The New Remedy


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Should you get the Inspire implant?

For some people, Inspire may be the only real option for OSA relief. Because the Inspire implant requires surgery, it probably isn’t most people’s first choice. Not to mention that a battery change is required every seven to ten years.

Inspire is significantly more expensive than traditional CPAP machines, which typically range in price from $250 to $1,000 — some run into the thousands. However, if you are living with sleep apnea and are not finding relief with standard treatments, the Inspire implant may be right for you.

What are the of Inspire?

According to the FDA’s Inspire Clinical Trial Summary, the most common adverse events include:

  • Tongue pain, abrasion or weakness
  • Dry mouth
  • stimulation complaints
  • mechanical pain
  • a headache
  • Mild infection

According to Inspire, most of these adverse events resolve on their own over time, by taking medication, or by adjusting your Inspire’s settings, which the FDA’s report also confirms. As with any surgery, there is a risk of pain, swelling, or infection after the initial device implantation.

More serious associated with Inspire, which are also much less common, include allergic reactions, nerve injury or damage, or damage to blood vessels around the implantation site.

The benefits of the Inspire implant are significant – better sleep quality, no more daytime sleepiness, and a reduced risk of stroke or heart attack. According to the FDA, the “likely benefits outweigh the likely risks” for approved patients with obstructive sleep apnea who do not benefit from traditional CPAP therapy.

If you’re interested in Inspire to treat your obstructive sleep apnea, I recommend speaking to your doctor to assess your needs and determine if it’s right for you.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions about a medical condition or health goals.

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