WellSpan First in Region to Offer New Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Thursday, July 12, 2018

WellSpan York Hospital now offers an implantable device procedure with diagnosis and follow-up at WellSpan sleep centers.

WellSpan Health is now the first health system in Central Pennsylvania to offer Inspire upper airway stimulation (UAS) therapy, a new treatment option for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) for those who cannot use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.

Inspire therapy is the first implantable device for treating OSA. In contrast to CPAP, Inspire therapy works from inside the body and with a patient’s natural breathing process.

The implantable system includes a small generator, a sensing lead and a stimulation lead. Turned on by a hand-held remote, it delivers mild stimulation to key airway muscles, which keeps the airway open during sleep.

The outpatient procedure is performed by York ENT Associates’ Brian Flowers, MD, and Andrew Shorb, MD, at WellSpan York Hospital. Patients from throughout Central Pennsylvania can be diagnosed at WellSpan’s network of sleep centers in Adams, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties, with follow-up care in Lancaster and York.

“This is a very exciting development for us and our patients,” Dr. Flowers says. “My colleague Dr. Shorb and I look forward to offering this approach to the residents of Central Pennsylvania who cannot tolerate CPAP therapy. Working with such a strong medical group helps make this possible because WellSpan is an integrated system allowing us to offer this to the entire region.”

Upper Airway Stimulation System (by Inspire) is an implantable stimulation therapy used to treat patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea.

WellSpan Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine practices and WellSpan sleep centers across Central Pennsylvania provide necessary sleep studies before and after the procedure, with locations in both Lancaster and York designated as official Inspire sites for follow-up care.

“We can now offer a one-stop shop for patients, who no longer have to travel out of the area for this treatment. It’s all right here in the area, through great collaboration and coordination,” says Meera Ranganathan, MD, WellSpan pulmonologist and Medical Director of WellSpan’s sleep centers.

More than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea. Depending on the degree of severity, OSA can be a potentially life-threatening condition. Recent research shows that a person with poorly managed sleep apnea is at increased risk for heart attack, stroke, weight gain, high blood pressure and heart failure. While CPAP is often successful, studies show that roughly half of all patients who start CPAP eventually become noncompliant.

In the STAR (Stimulation Therapy for Apnea Reduction) trial, a pivotal clinical trial that tested the safety and efficacy of Inspire therapy, patients experienced a significant reduction in sleep apnea events and significant improvement in quality-of-life measures.

These results were published in the Jan. 9, 2014, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

For additional information, visit WellSpan.org and search “sleep centers.”