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Web preview: OSU doctors perform first implant to combat sleep apnea

Ohio State University doctors performed the first implant of a device used to combat sleep apnea in the U.S. on Jan. 21 at the OSU Medical Center.

The device, known as the RespiCardia System, is used to treat central sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that limits a person’s breathing while he or she is asleep.

Central sleep apnea is a major problem in people with heart disease and people who have suffered a brain injury, said William Abraham, professor of internal medicine and director of cardiovascular medicine at OSU.

“There are six million Americans with heart failure; about 80 percent of those people have sleep apnea and about 60 percent of those people have central sleep apnea,” Abraham said. “So obviously a lot could benefit from this therapy if it proves to be effective.”

Abraham said the success of this procedure is a major step for the OSU Medical Center.

“We are attempting, in our heart program, to be national leaders in development of new drugs and procedures to treat heart disease,” Abraham said. “This helps establish the Ohio State Medical Center as an international leader in treating heart disease.”

Current treatment of central sleep apnea is limited to a tightly fitting mask that blows air into the lungs in order to keep the patient breathing. Abraham, however, said many patients just can’t tolerate the mask.


This story will be completed in Monday’s issue of The Lantern.

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