Sarah, who has severe sleep apnea, was given a rare cure – sleep problem still unsolved: “I had bad luck because my condition is worse now” A tired person is ready for anything that might make him or her refreshed. – Sarah’s choice didn’t bring the desired result.
Sleep apnea is a disorder that is characterized by interruptions in breathing at night. There can be hundreds of them overnight.
Sarah 63, breathing breaks have been tried to control with a CPAP device and with a mouthpiece. In addition to these, the disease has so far been treated with a hypoglossus nerve stimulation, which is still quite rare.
CPAP device causes pain, can it be replaced with a sleep apnea mouthpiece?
“I got a CPAP device four years ago. For some users, it pushes air into the gut, causing severe pain. Because it did just that for me, the CPAP device was replaced with a sleep apnea mouthpiece.
The mouthpiece moves the sleeper’s lower jaw and tongue muscles forward, creating more air space in the throat. Thanks to it, I slept properly and had the strength to do 50 hour work weeks.
Normally, the lower jaw and bite return to their original position during the morning. In my case, this did not happen. In the end, I couldn’t eat anything other than pureed food. ”
From a sleep registration study to electrical stimulation of the upper respiratory tract
“Because those treatments did not suit me, my suitability for a new treatment began to be explored. Two years ago, my respiratory tract was examined under anesthesia. Shortly thereafter, I underwent an extensive sleep registration study. Based on these, it seemed that I would be suitable for electrical stimulation of the upper respiratory tract.
It had only been a day since the sleep registration, when I was allowed to try a new treatment. I got a day to think and finally my doctor said to me: There is no other treatment.
I didn’t know anything about the hypoglossus nerve stimulation (HNS) treatment. I did not know anyone, to whom it would have been made. I was really exhausted and considered the new treatment the only option, with which I could cope with working life until retirement. I decided to go to the surgery. ”
Sleep apnea stimulator is operated by a remote control
“During the surgery, a device similar to a pacemaker was placed under my skin. When I go to bed at night, I turn on the unit by the remote control and it turns on after a delay time. The device sends an electric shock to the tongue nerve at the rate of breathing, pushing the tongue forward and unblocking the airways. The first shocks are more powerful than others, and I often wake up to them.
As the duration of the electric shocks was shortened, I began to hear them. Although attempts have been made to correct the settings, I still wake up to the sounds of electric shocks.
I have tried to dampen the sound of electric shock through the acquisition of a variety of pillows. My night is a struggle with cushions as I constantly try to find a position where the sound of electric shocks will not be heard or will not cause pain. The pacemaker part was moved once because of severe pain, but there was no permanent help with the transfer. ”
Early retirement due to fatigue
“A year ago I retired early because of my tiredness. The new treatment was supposed to make me fresh, but I’m still waiting for that moment. I’m still not sleeping properly.
I have been asked if I regret going to surgery and I have been offered removal of the device in a new surgery. I answer that there is no return to the past. Besides, the pains might remain.
For some patients, the new treatment will certainly help. I had bad luck because my condition is worse now. I wish my problem was taken seriously.
An ear specialist asked me why, despite my request, I was not offered other sleep apnea mouthpieces. That’s what I wonder about. ”
New treatment for sleep apnea is Hypoglossus Nerve stimulation (HNS)
- The latest promising treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnea is a device that electrically stimulates the tongue. It is placed under the skin in surgery.
- The surgery has been done for a couple of thousand. According to international reports, about two-thirds of patients are currently treated with success. One third does not get help.
- Care and equipment are constantly being developed. The goal is to find the few and selected patients who would benefit the most. The very expensive price limits the use of the device.
About hypoglossus nerve stimulation (HNS)
The device, developed by researchers in USA, electrically stimulates tongue movement during sleep, thereby widening and stabilizing the airways and facilitating breathing. In addition to the surgical electrode placed on the tongue nerve, patients are fitted with a respiratory monitor between the rib muscles and the actual stimulator device under the collarbone. Patients can turn on the device themselves overnight.
In one study, this device was installed in 126 patients with an average age of 55 years who had moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea.
When patients were re-evaluated after one year of treatment, two-thirds of them experienced a significant improvement in the symptoms. Measurements showed that nighttime breathing breaks were reduced by many by up to 70 percent, and that snoring, daytime fatigue, and other effects of sleep apnea were alleviated in patients who did not have the same reduction in breathing breaks.
The results are very encouraging, especially since the patients in the study were not able to use high-pressure breathing therapy, which is the best of the current methods. Almost 90% of patients used the stimulator every night throughout the study.