Hypoglossal nerve stimulation for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea is a promising technology being pursued by a number of companies, including big firms such as Medtronic. The big idea is that muscles of the upper airway relax more than necessary in some OSA patients, the passage gets blocked and air can’t flow repeatedly during sleep. Hence hypoglossal stimulation, properly timed to one’s breathing, can help to relieve the obstruction. ImThera, a start up out of San Diego, California, is now reporting that it has developed a new neurostimulation solution for people that failed to find a less invasive therapy for their obstructive sleep apnea (i.e. CPAP mask) The aura 6000 implant provides night time electric stimulation to the hypoglossal nerve. The firm has yet to receive regulatory approval to market the device.
Components of the aura 6000:
A multi-contact electrode specific to the Hypoglossal nerve. The electrode connects to the IPG via a lead wire. An implantable pulse generator (IPG) enclosure which contains the electronics and the RF receive-transmit antenna. It is externally programmable, specifically for each patient, and re-chargeable.
Patient’s controller, charger and programmer device. The external controller interfaces to the IPG for patient functions and to the physician’s computer for set-up and programming. Physician’s PC including the aura600 Clinical Manager software.
Product page: aura 6000…
Press release: ImThera Medical Completes Development of Targeted Hypoglossal Neurostimulation Treatment for OSA… (.pdf)
Flashbacks: Apnex Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation for OSA ; Inspire II Implantable Nerve Stimulator for Obstructive Sleep Apnea