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New small device is welcome alternative to C-PAP for some sleep apnea sufferers

August 16, 2011|from KY3 News

Eighteen million Americans have sleep apnea, a condition that not only disrupts sleep but also may lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke or diabetes if left untreated.       Now a simple device that fits over the nose is helping patients get the treatment they need -- without any discomfort.

Joyce Nemoga starts her day with a brisk walk and a little gardening.  She didn’t always have this much energy however.

"I would wake up groggy. It would take me an hour or something to wake up and kind of get going,” she said.

She wasn’t the only one suffering.

"My husband started complaining that I was snoring,” said Nemoga.

Doctors diagnosed Nemoga with sleep apnea.  Like most patients, she was told to wear a C-PAP mask to bed every night.  The problem is it was bulky.

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"I couldn't really handle it. It's too much,” she said.

She isn’t alone.  More than half of all patients stop C-PAP treatment because they find it cumbersome.  This can put them at risk for several dangerous diseases.

Dr. Amit Patel had a different option for Nemoga.  It’s called Pro-vent sleep apnea therapy.  It attaches righ over the patient’s nostrils.

 "This device takes advantage of the fact that 92 percent or more of people automatically breathe through their nose when they fall asleep,” said Patel.

In sleep apnea, muscles in the throat relax and cause the airway to collapse.  As a result, patients can stop breathing periodically.  With the Pro-vent device, valves inside open during inhalation and close when the patient exhales. This increases the pressure and may help keep the airway open.

Study results show 72 percent of patients had more than a 50-percent reduction in AHI, which is the number of times per hour they stopped breathing at night. Snoring was reduced by 65 percent and more than 88 percent of patients reported wearing the device all night.

There is no mask, tubes or machines  -- just two small adhesives that Nemoga puts on each night.  She says it’s made a huge difference, and she can enjoy more time with her husband.

Some insurance plans cover the pro-vent device. It costs about $60 a month.  Most insurance plans cover the C-PAP machine.  The most common side effects reported by Pro-vent users are a sense of nasal congestion or nasal discomfort.

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