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WellSpan first in region to offer new treatment for obstructive sleep apnea

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Implantable device procedure now performed at WellSpan York Hospital, with diagnosis and follow-up at WellSpan sleep centers

WellSpan Health is the first health system in southcentral Pennsylvania to offer Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation (UAS) therapy, a new treatment option for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) for those who cannot use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy.

Inspire therapy is the first implantable device for treating OSA. In contrast to CPAP, Inspire therapy works from inside the body and with a patient’s natural breathing process.

The implantable system includes a small generator, a sensing lead and a stimulation lead. Turned on by a handheld remote, it delivers mild stimulation to key airway muscles, which keeps the airway open during sleep.

The outpatient procedure is performed by York ENT AssociatesBrian Flowers, M.D., and Andrew Shorb, M.D., at WellSpan York Hospital. Patients from throughout southcentral Pennsylvania can be diagnosed at WellSpan’s network of sleep centers in Adams, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties, with follow-up care in Lancaster and York. 

“This is a very exciting development for us and our patients,” said Flowers. “My colleague Dr. Shorb and I look forward to offering this approach to the residents of southcentral Pennsylvania who cannot tolerate CPAP therapy. Working with such a strong medical group helps make this possible, because WellSpan is an integrated system allowing us to offer this to the entire region.”

WellSpan Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine practices and WellSpan sleep centers across southcentral Pennsylvania provide necessary sleep studies before and after the procedure, with locations in both Lancaster and York designated as official Inspire sites for follow-up care.

“We can now offer a one-stop-shop for patients, who now don’t have to travel out of the area for this treatment. It’s all right here in the area, through great collaboration and coordination,” said Meera Ranganathan, M.D., WellSpan pulmonologist and medical director of WellSpan’s sleep centers.

More than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea. Depending on the degree of severity, OSA can be a potentially life-threatening condition. Recent research shows that a person with poorly managed sleep apnea is at increased risk for heart attack, stroke, weight gain, high blood pressure and heart failure. While CPAP is often successful, studies show that roughly half of all patients that start CPAP eventually become non-compliant.

In the STAR (Stimulation Therapy for Apnea Reduction) trial, a pivotal clinical trial that tested the safety and efficacy of Inspire therapy, patients experienced a significant reduction in sleep apnea events and significant improvement in quality of life measures.

These results were published in the January 9, 2014 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

For more information on Inspire therapy, visit www.inspiresleep.com.

About WellSpan Health
WellSpan Health is an integrated health system that serves the communities of central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. The organization is comprised of a multispecialty medical group of more than 1,200 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a regional behavioral health organization, a home care organization, six respected hospitals, more than 15,000 employees, and more than 140 patient care locations. WellSpan is a charitable, mission-driven organization, committed to exceptional care for all, lifelong wellness and healthy communities.

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