Therapeutic Electrical Stimulation of the Hypoglossal Nerve in Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The findings demonstrate the feasibility and

Alan R. Schwartz

2013

Scholarcy highlights

  • Hypoglossal nerve stimulation has been demonstrated to relieve upper airway obstruction acutely, but its effect on obstructive sleep apnea is not known
  • Eight patients with obstructive sleep apnea were implanted with a device that stimulated the hypoglossal nerve unilaterally during inspiration
  • Even after completing the study protocol, the 3 patients who remained free from stimulator malfunction continued to use this device as primary treatment
  • Unilateral hypoglossal nerve stimulation decreased the severity of obstructive sleep apnea throughout the entire study period
  • Apnea-hypopnea indices in non–rapid eye movement and rapid eye movement sleep are illustrated for baseline; 1, 3, and 6 months; and last follow-up night of stimulation
  • There were no significant differences in sleep stage distribution among the treatment nights over the course of the study
  • We found trends toward deeper stages of NREM sleep during stimulation nights (Table
  • Responses in the apneahypopnea index during entire nights and for continuous periods of stimulation suggest that the therapeutic potential for hypoglossal nerve stimulation will be fully realized once these technical issues are solved and stimulus parameters are optimized

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