Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Shocking the Low Road for Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea is rarer than obstructive sleep apnea. In obstructive sleep apnea, the tissues of the airway collapse, closing the airway, preventing air from entering. CPAP and oral appliance therapy treat sleep apnea by keeping the airway open, but are of limited value for central sleep apnea. In central sleep apnea, the brain stops sending signals telling the body to breathe. CPAP is used for central sleep apnea, and it can be helpful because it ensures there is always some amount of fresh air in the lungs that can partly keep the blood oxygenated. But even for patients that tolerate the treatment, it can only improve the condition, not fully treat it.

Now researchers at Ohio State University think they may have found a good solution to the problem. Similar to the tongue shocker for obstructive sleep apnea, they have invented a pacemaker-like device targeted at the diaphragm. When this device senses that the sleeper has stopped breathing, it shocks the diaphragm, stimulating it to function.

Currently, the device is being tried on one patient, but if it works, it may be the long-sought best treatment option for central sleep apnea.

If you are looking for a successful sleep apnea treatment, talk to a local sleep dentist today to learn the full range of options available.

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posted by Dr. Candelaria at 2:49 PM