LIFESTYLE
20/05/2014 12:07 BST | Updated 20/05/2014 12:59 BST

New Implant Could Help Those Suffering From Snoring And Sleep Apnoea

Roughly half the population snores, and while it is something that's joked about, snoring can seriously affect the sleep you get - whether you're the snorer or you live with one.

But fear not, a new device could end your chronic snoring misery.

snoring

A tiny matchbox sized device, which is placed under the skin, can regulate breathing throughout the night to combat central sleep apnoea - where sufferers temporarily stop breathing as they sleep.

A year-long study on 46 patients with heart failure who also suffer from sleep aponea found the implant, called Remede®, was effective at regulating breathing.

For those with heart failure, central sleep apnoea can double the risk of dying.

Early results of the study were presented at the Heart Failure Congress in Athens.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Professor William Abraham from the Ohio State University said: “The Remede® system is the first fully implantable device to treat central sleep apnoea in heart failure patients.

"Unlike traditional mask based therapies – which have been shown to work only in some patients under certain conditions in CSA – the remede® system is acceptable to patients and improves their sleep and heart function.

“Patients using the device tell us they haven’t slept so well in years. They have more energy and can do their normal daily activities without falling asleep. They also don’t have to fight with a mask.”

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The device is implanted under the skin like a pacemaker, just below the collar bone, and a wire is threaded into one of the veins near the phrenic nerve.

Professor Abraham said: “The device stimulates the diaphragm via the phrenic nerve, causing the diaphragm to contract.

It regularises the patient’s breathing pattern throughout the night, rather than waiting until the patient stops breathing to react.”

Participants trying the device experienced substantial benefits in their sleep efficiency and had less time spent at night with low blood oxygen level, which would indicate their breathing had been interrupted.

Patients said they were less sleepy in the day and their quality of life had improved.

The results showed that participants' heart function had also improved, such as their heart beating with more force.

Professor Abraham said: “Patients with the remede® system feel better, they are less symptomatic, their quality of life is improved, and the underlying mechanisms that lead to heart failure progression such as autonomic imbalance are improved.”

He continued: “The major problem with mask based therapies such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is patient acceptance and compliance.

"Up to 50 per cent of patients can’t or won’t wear a mask so their sleep apnoea is untreated or inadequately treated.”

Professor Abraham concluded that all heart failure patients should be screened for sleep apnoea and those with obstructive sleep apnoea should be offered a mask based therapy.