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Chicago-area man says implanted sleep apnea therapy device changed his life – NBC Chicago

More and more Americans are looking for alternatives to CPAP machines to treat their sleep apnea, but a Chicago man and his doctor are raving about a remote-controlled implant designed to help with the condition in a unique way.

The Inspire device, approved by the FDA in 2014, is an implantable device that can be wirelessly controlled for use during sleep, and retired Chicago firefighter Dan Sheehan swears by it, saying he has got the best sleep he’s had in years.

“You push it, you hold it and off you go,” he said. “I wake up relaxed, and when you have sleep apnea, you don’t wake up relaxed.”

Sheehan used to use a CPAP machine, but he called using it torture.

“The cable goes all the way to my neck,” he said.

Dr. Phillip Losavio, head of sleep surgery at RUSH, recommended the Inspire device to Sheehan.

“It’s an electronic device that implants itself under the skin on the chest and it sends a signal to the nerves that control the back of the tongue and basically contracts those muscles while you sleep at night to prevent the throat from squeezing. collapse”, he mentioned.

Losavio says recent recalls of CPAP devices, which NBC 5 Responds has extensively covered, and global supply shortages have led patients to seek alternatives, and the Inspire device is the one he recommends to many.

“People haven’t been able to get their CPAP machines, so it’s certainly increased awareness of other treatments that people are looking for,” he said.

There are specific criteria for who is eligible for the device, as it requires a two-hour outpatient surgery that involves making two small incisions for implantation.

Sheehan said he used to stop breathing more than 70 times an hour while he slept and couldn’t tolerate wearing a CPAP mask for more than a few hours at a time.

“CPAP was torture,” he said.

Patients can use a device to turn the implant on and off, making it easier and longer for them to sleep.

“It’s so comfortable,” Sheehan said. “It’s a new innovation.”

Losavio says treating sleep apnea is critically important for a myriad of reasons, and he hopes more effective treatment options will encourage patients to assess whether they’re struggling with the condition.

“For people with moderate to severe sleep apnea, not only does it make them feel bad and make them snore, but they’re also at high risk for heart attack and stroke,” he said. declared.