Upper Airway Stimulation


What Is Upper Airway Stimulation?

Nerve stimulation is a proven technology that includes stimulating something in the body with an implantable device that leads to a therapeutic benefit. There are many medical problems that have been improved by devices, such as pacemakers and implantable stimulators for seizure disorders. For obstructive sleep apnea, a company called Inspire has developed an FDA-approved device that is being implanted in appropriate patients throughout the world with excellent results. 

How Does Upper Airway Stimulation Work?

While you are sleeping, the Inspire device monitors every breath you take. Based on your unique breathing patters, the system delivers mild stimulation to key airway muscles, allowing the airway to remain open during sleep.

The Inspire system is fully implanted and consists of a breathing sensor lead and a stimulation lead, powered by a small battery. Using the handheld Inspire sleep remote, simply turn the therapy on before bed and off when you wake up.  See the picture below, which shows the stimulation lead, generator, and sensor lead.  

Hear and see how Inspire works by clicking on the video

Who Is a Candidate?

 There are certain requirements to be a candidate for Inspire including:  

  • Moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (AHI of 15 to 65)
  • Inability to use or get consistent benefit from CPAP
  • Not significantly overweight
  • Over the age of 22 


Hear and see what patients have to say about Inspire by clicking the video


Tell Me More About Your Program

 The Upper Airway Stimulation Program at Indiana University was founded by Dr. Parker and Drs. Shalu Manchanda and Notch Sigua, sleep medicine specialists at IU.  The program was initiated in 2015 as the first interdisciplinary program for upper airway stimulation in Indiana.  Dozens of patients have now been successfully implanted under the care of this successful team of doctors.   The program is one of a select few programs in the world selected to participate in the Adhere registry program, which aims to study the outcomes for patients following upper airway stimulation and to improve delivery and care for patients with sleep apnea. 

See Dr Parker's Inspire Video