Hospital offers implanted device to treat obstructive sleep apnea

South Miami Hospital is the first hospital in South Florida and one of only 22 in the nation and 30 in the world to offer patients a unique implantable treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, a chronic disorder that affects more than 18 million sleepdeprived Americans.

Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation provides an alternative for patients with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea who are unable to use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device — a mask that fits over the nose or mouth and blows air into the airway to help keep it open during sleep. Studies show that about half of sleep apnea patients cannot sleep comfortably using continuous positive airway pressure.

Baptist Health otolaryngologist Rolando Molina, MD, who specializes in the surgical treatment of ear, nose and throat disorders such as sleep apnea, performed the hospital’s first procedure on Dec. 31, 2014 using Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation therapy.

Pulmonologist and sleep medicine specialist Jeremy I. Tabak, MD, treated and identified the patient. Dr. Tabak specializes in the evaluation and treatment of snoring and sleep apnea. He performs sleep studies at South Miami Hospital’s Sleep Diagnostic Center, which is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and equipped with the most-advanced testing equipment.

“This implant is a breakthrough for patients who are unable to tolerate the standard treatment for obstructive sleep apnea,” Dr. Tabak said.

“Patients with sleep apnea are at an increased risk for health issues. There is a significant need for safe and effective new treatments in the sleep medicine field,” he added.

“In contrast to other surgical options to treat sleep apnea, Inspire therapy does not require removal or permanent alteration of facial or airway anatomy,” Dr. Molina said. “The procedure is less invasive and should result in a shorter recovery time.”

The components of the Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation system are placed inside the body during a minimally invasive two-hour surgical procedure. The implant consists of a small generator that is positioned in the upper chest like a pacemaker. The system monitors a patient’s breathing patterns and sends an electrical pulse to the nerve that controls the tongue to keep the airway open.\

When left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can contribute to an overall diminished quality of life that includes morning headaches, daytime fatigue and depression. Research shows that OSA may also lead to significant health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and obesity.

Inspire therapy has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Studies show that patients implanted with the device have experienced a 68 percent reduction in sleep apnea and significant improvements in quality of life and daytime functioning.

For more information on the procedure or to schedule an appointment with a physician for an evaluation, call 786-662- 8812.
South Miami Hospital is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region. For more information visit online at

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