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Dr. Robert Sonnenburg offers new, alternative treatment for obstructive sleep apnea

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Handheld remote used with Inspire therapy

Dr. Robert Sonnenburg, an otolaryngologist with BayCare Clinic Ear, Nose & Throat, is the first provider in the region to offer Inspire therapy for patients diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and who are intolerant to CPAP.

Obstructive sleep apnea affects nearly 22 million Americans. Left untreated, it can have devastating effects on heart and brain health and have a lasting impact on a person’s quality of life.

Primary treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea involve a sleep study and continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP. Growing statistics indicate, however, that some patients do not respond well to CPAP therapy and that long-term adherence to CPAP therapy is less than 50 percent.

“Inspire therapy represents a significant advancement in treating sleep apnea,” says Sonnenburg. He is board-certified in sleep medicine and otolaryngology by The American Board of Otolaryngology. “We are excited to now offer this new treatment option to sleep apnea patients who currently struggle with CPAP.”

Inspire therapy consists of a stimulation lead and a breathing sensor powered by a small battery.

The device, implanted just under the skin during an outpatient procedure, monitors each breath the patient takes and provides mild stimulation to open the airway during sleep. The patient remains in control of the system through a small handheld remote.

Studies have shown patients using Inspire therapy have significant and sustained reductions in sleep apnea episodes, increased activity levels, reduced daytime sleepiness and a significant decrease in snoring.

Additionally, if a patient meets the criteria for Inspire therapy, most insurances will provide coverage for the device.

Published: Thursday, August 29, 2019