Inspire Medical's sleep apnea implant scores for the majority in a study

Inspire Medical Systems is touting some encouraging results from a recent trial involving its implant to treat sleep apnea. The New York Times recently reported on the study, which is highlighted in detail in The New England Journal of Medicine. The company's nerve-stimulation implant offers mild stimulation to a nerve in a patient's jaw during sleep, helping to keep part of the upper airway open. As the NYT noted, it works somewhat like a pacemaker (it's also implanted in the chest). In a trial of the device involving 126 patients, two-thirds of the participants saw real improvement with fewer breathing pauses and better blood oxygen levels, according to the story. If the device wins FDA approval, it could serve as an alternative to the more common--and clunky--CPAP machines. Inspire, which funded the trial, spun out of Medtronic ($MDT) in 2007. Story (sub. req.) | Journal abstract

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