Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation helps those with sleep apnea

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Every night for five years, Kathy Gaberson donned a facemask connected to hoses and compressed air.

This continuous positive airway pressure machine, or c-pap, was the best treatment available for Gaberson's sleep apnea, which had been steadily wrecking her health.

"I was driving my car locally and stopped at a stop sign and fell asleep," Gaberson said.

But a new implantable device is helping Gaberson finally get a good night's rest.

Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation therapy is like a pacemaker that is placed under the skin of the right, upper chest, said Ryan Soose, a sleep medicine expert.

The device is connected to an electrode that stimulates the nerve of the tongue, preventing the narrowing of the throat.

"The patient has a remote control to turn it on and off when they want to use it," Soose said.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine said two-thirds of patients had less daytime sleepiness and improvements in snoring.

Gaberson felt a slight tingling in her throat when the device turned on, but said the feeling didn't keep her from sleeping.

"I woke up in the morning refreshed...just feeling much better," Gaberson said.

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