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Jesse Brown first VA in Illinois to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea using Inspire

By Debra Denhart 
Jesse Brown VA Public Affairs Officer


Jesse Brown VA Medical Center (JBVAMC), Chicago, IL, is taking the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) to the next level. Jesse Brown is the first VA Medical Center in Illinois to use the FDA-approved OSA treatment, Inspire, and the only VA in Illinois to have an Inspire Program. Inspire works inside your body to treat the root cause of sleep apnea with just the click of a button.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea continues to be one of the most common respiratory disorders of sleep, yet many individuals go undiagnosed. OSA occurs when the airway collapses during sleep and blocks the flow of oxygen to the brain. The brain then senses a lack of oxygen and wakes the body up just long enough to take a breath, then falls back asleep. The cycle can occur hundreds of times during the night creating a poor disruptive sleep pattern.

Some symptoms of OSA include snoring, inability to focus, memory loss, daytime sleepiness, motor vehicle accidents, and reduced quality of life. Untreated OSA can lead to significant health issues including cardiovascular disease.

The diagnosis of OSA generally begins with seeing a primary care doctor who may refer you to a sleep specialist to conduct a sleep study. During the sleep study, at home or in a sleep lab, you are monitored, and a diagnosis is made of mild, moderate, or severe OSA, central sleep apnea or complex sleep apnea.

The first line of treatment of OSA is with CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy. CPAP has been effective in eliminating sleep fragmentation and preserving nocturnal oxygenation which in turn improves daytime sleepiness and quality of life.

However, there are significant impediments to the effectiveness of CPAP therapy in low adherence rates. Many become annoyed with CPAP and discontinue use, leaving their OSA untreated.

JBVAMC’s team of experts researched other treatments for those individuals who are not able to find relief with CPAP therapy, which led them to create the Inspire Program. Inspire was FDA-approved in 2014 and has been proven to be a safe and effective treatment for those with moderate to severe OSA.

Inspire works inside the body with a patient’s natural breathing process to treat sleep apnea. Mild stimulation opens the airway during sleep, allowing oxygen to flow naturally. The patient uses a small hand-held remote to turn to Inspire on before bed and off when they wake up.

Implementing Inspire as a treatment led otolaryngologist, Dr. Rajeev Mehta, to complete the first Inspire implant, and neurologist and sleep physician, Dr. Muhammad Najjar to activate the device in Jesse Brown’s Sleep Department.

For more information on sleep disorders, contact the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center at 312-569-8387, or visit the website at Take care of your health today, by protecting your sleep.

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