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St. John's Regional to Offer New Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea


St. John’s Regional Medical Center (SJRMC), a Dignity Health hospital, is the first and only hospital in the Central Coast (between Los Angeles and Palo Alto) to offer the first Inspire Therapy procedure to address Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The first procedure was performed on June 15 by Otolaryngologist Tricia Kho, MD.

Inspire Therapy, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is a small implant sensor that delivers mild stimulation to key airway muscles, keeping them open during sleep. It has been clinically proven to significantly reduce moderate to severe sleep apnea by 70 percent in patients who are unable to use traditional treatments, like Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).

“CPAP is a highly effective treatment for individuals who suffer with sleep apnea, however it is not effective for everyone.” said Dr. Kho. It’s exciting to know we can now provide this new option to patients who struggle with traditional treatments in the comfort of their own community.”

OSA, which affects an estimated 18 million Americans, is characterized by repeated episodes of upper airways collapse during sleep, due to narrowing or blockage. Patients with OSA stop breathing, known as apnea, frequently during sleep, often for a minute or longer, and over half of those with OSA are overweight. Repeated episodes of apnea can lead to daytime fatigue, and increase a person’s risk for heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and even death. Treatments for OSA include weight loss, upper airway surgeries, oral appliances, and continuous airway pressure, which is considered the primary treatment for OSA.

“In contrast to other surgical options to treat sleep apnea, Inspire Therapy does not require removal or permanent alteration of facial or airway anatomy, said Dr. Kho. “The procedure is less invasive, less painful and results in quicker recovery.”

Inspire Therapy is effective for people with a body mass index (BMI) under 32. Medical evaluation is required to be considered for this procedure.

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