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Inspire and Sleep Apnea FAQ

Who is at risk for sleep apnea?

Men, peri- or post-menopausal women and older adults, as well as anyone who is overweight or has a neck circumference of more than 16 inches.

If you live alone, how would you know that you have sleep apnea (i.e., no one notices when you are snoring or stop breathing)?

You may notice other symptoms of sleep apnea, such as sleepiness or fatigue despite sufficient sleep time; waking up choking or gasping; memory difficulties; irritability or mood disorders; dry mouth during sleep; frequent awakenings from sleep; frequent urination during sleep; and headaches, especially upon waking up.

At the Rush Sleep Disorders Service and Research Center, we evaluate patients for these symptoms, and order a sleep study for confirmation when necessary.

Does sleep apnea aggravate high blood pressure and heart disease?

Yes. Obstructive sleep apnea, especially if moderate to severe, is associated with elevated blood pressure and increased risks for cardiovascular events, including heart attack, stroke, arrhythmias and cardiovascular death.

Does the Inspire device change the configuration of the chest?

No, the Inspire device does not change the configuration or shape of the chest. The device is placed below the skin and soft tissue on the right upper side of the chest.

Do you feel the device? Is it an uncomfortable feeling?

If you place your hand over the area, the device should be evident below the skin. Patients do not describe any discomfort after the initial postoperative period, and usually, no pain medication is required after the first week of recovery.

Are there any side effects of the procedure or having the device implanted?

All surgeries carry a risk of complications, such as bleeding or infection. The surgeon will discuss these with you in depth before the surgery. Overall, however, it is considered a low-risk procedure with an extremely low complication rate as performed at the Rush Sleep Surgery Program.

What percent of patients who have the Inspire implant experience rejection?

To date, there have been no reports of device rejection similar to a transplant rejection or allergy.

Does the Inspire device cause any problems with bathing, swimming or exercising?

All activity is permitted after the recovery period of 4 to 6 weeks. However, we do discourage patients from participating in any martial arts or combative sports that could lead to striking the device.

Can you get an MRI scan once the device is implanted?

The device is approved for patients to receive an MRI of the head, neck or extremities (arms or legs). You cannot get a body MRI (chest or abdomen). Patients can receive any type of CT scan without concern.

Can you still get the Inspire device if you have a heart pacemaker or implantable defibrillator?

Yes. Patients with cardiac devices, at Rush and around the country, have successfully received Inspire implants.

Does the Inspire device make you sensitive to any medications?

It does not.

Will the Inspire device cause any concern when going through airport security?

Similar to other medical devices such as pacemakers, you will be given a medical card for your wallet to show the TSA agent at any airport.

Do you need a referral from your primary care physician for Inspire?

No referral is necessary unless your insurance plan requires it.

My sleep study was inconclusive. What options do I have for evaluation?

We recommend getting a second opinion at the Rush Sleep Disorders Service and Research Center.

Why is there a weight requirement? Is the implant not effective if you have a high BMI?

The device has not been tested in clinical trials in patients with a BMI above 32, so the effectiveness and safety are unknown. That’s why Inspire is not recommended in higher BMI patients. But every person’s body type is unique, and the doctor can make an individualized evaluation during your visit.

How many Inspire procedures has Rush performed? How does that compare to other hospitals in Chicago and nationally?

Rush has performed more than 40 implants and is a leader in the region in volume. But, more important, we value quality. Our team is committed to helping our patients achieve excellent outcomes and dramatically improve their quality of life.