New device helping people who suffer from sleep apnea

Michelle Charlesworth Image
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
New device helping people sleep better
EMBED <>More Videos

Michelle Charlesworth has the story of a device helping patients with sleep apnea.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Technology is bringing relief to people who suffer from sleep apnea.

Instead of a big, loud, clunky mask, a small implant in the chest is helping patients get a better night's sleep.

Joe Truglio tried everything to cure his sleep apnea.

"I was stopping breathing 30 times an hour, now I don't at all," he said.

He also suffered from asthma and A-Fib, and he was stressing out his wife and daughter.

So he listened when his cardiologist suggested he get the latest technology: an implant that would make sure once he fell asleep, it was lights out.

"The first day they turned it on, that night I slept 10 hours straight without getting up, first time in my life," said Joe.

He said his mood, skin and energy level are all better. "I don't get tired in the afternoon anymore," he said.

Dr. Fred Lin of Mount Sinai Health System insists most have the same experience, though not everyone is a candidate.

He estimates about 35 percent of sleep apnea patients are good candidates.

Factors are BMI and how your throat constricts.

"It's basically a stimulator of the tongue in the upper airway, and it gently stimulates the airway to open up while you're sleeping," said Dr. Lin.

That's important because sleep apnea messes up breathing and sleeping.

"As your body relaxes during sleep, tissues in the throat start collapsing on the airway, and it closes the airway down to the point where they don't get enough air as they're sleeping, and your body reacts to that by pulling out of deep sleep into more of an awakened state to allow you to breathe again," said Dr. Lin.

He explains it is a three point outpatient surgery. The Inspire device is turned on by remote and must be replaced after about ten years.

How are Joe's asthma and A-Fib coming? Great! Even cuts heal faster, his memory is better, he's dreaming all the time, and his family is too.