This Tiny Implant Uses Electrical Impulses To Combat Sleep Apnoea

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Snoring is a nightly frustration for sufferers and their partners. But for some, it can also be a symptom of a more serious condition.

Sleep apnoea affects around three million people in the UK and occurs when airflow is cut off by the tongue.

Now scientists have developed an implant that claims to combat the condition, which can increase the risk of high blood pressure, strokes and heart disease.


During a minor procedure, the electrical device is positioned under the skin next to the nerve which controls the movement of the tongue muscle.

At night, wearers don a stick-on battery beneath their chin. The device sends electrical impulses to the tongue to ensure it contracts, leaving the airway open.

Nyxoah, the firm behind the technology, is now planning a clinical trial with 25 patients next month.

Rémi Renard, vice president of therapy development at Nyxoah, told HuffPost UK that the device provided a more comfortable alternative to existing treatments known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP):

“The current gold standard therapy, CPAP, is uncomfortable and poorly tolerated by OSA patients, thus significantly impacting their Quality of Life.”

CPAP therapy.
CPAP therapy.
Leadinglights via Getty Images

“Up to 20% of OSA diagnosed patients will refuse the CPAP therapy and 50% of CPAP treated patients will abandon the therapy within the first year,” Renard added.

Professor Jaydip Ray, an ear, nose and throat consultant at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals told the Daily Mail: “If it is successful, this minimally invasive procedure with remote charging will make it an attractive alternative [to CPAP].”


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