Jefferson University Hospitals

Jefferson Sleep Center is First in Philadelphia to Offer New FDA-Approved Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea


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The Jefferson Sleep Disorders Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is one of the first sites in the United States and the first in the Philadelphia area to offer an alternative to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) sleep masks for obstructive sleep apnea.

Inspire therapy, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in April 2014, is an implanted sensor that delivers mild stimulation to key airway muscles, keeping them open during sleep. It has been clinically proven to significantly reduce sleep apnea and significantly improve quality of life measures.

Only about 30 percent of patients diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and prescribed with CPAP masks actually use the masks.

Obstructive sleep apnea affects an estimated 18 million Americans and occurs when the tongue and other soft tissues relax during sleep and obstruct the airway. This causes recurrent awakening and leads to daytime sleepiness or fatigue and increased risk of heart attack, stroke, weight gain, and high blood pressure. The effects of sleep apnea can be life-threatening: Recently, a patient being treated at Jefferson was taken off a heart transplant list because his condition improved markedly after he was treated for obstructive sleep apnea.

Inspire therapy senses breathing patterns and delivers mild stimulation to key airway muscles, which keeps the airway open during sleep.

"CPAP is a highly effective treatment for OSA. However, a sizable number of individuals with OSA cannot tolerate CPAP," said Karl Doghrmaji, M.D., Medical Director of the Jefferson Sleep Disorders Center.

"We work diligently with these patients to overcome this inability.  However many are still unable to utilize CPAP, or cannot do so due to a variety of medical reasons. Thankfully, a variety of alternative treatments are available including dental appliances and surgical therapies. Upper airway stimulation represents the most recently introduced alternative.  Clinical studies with this device indicate that it is a highly effective method for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, and represents a dramatic advance in our ability to treat this serious condition."

Results from the STAR trial, a clinical study conducted at 22 leading medical centers in the United States and Europe, were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. STAR trial results showed that Inspire therapy reduced apnea events by 68 percent and significantly improved key quality of life measures.

"The hypoglossal nerve stimulator represents a huge shift in the way we are able to treat sleep apnea for patients who cannot tolerate CPAP therapy," said Maurits Boon, M.D., an otolaryngologist at Jefferson.  "Initial results from studies suggest great effectiveness with very low surgical risk.  We are proud to be the first center in Philadelphia to offer this treatment and we believe it will make a huge difference in our approach to treating this frustrating disease."

To schedule a medical evaluation for obstructive sleep apnea, patients can call 1-800-JEFF-NOW (1-800-533-3669).

Media Only Contact:
Katie Krauss
Jefferson University Hospitals
Phone: 215-955-6300