Sleep apnea device boosts energy

January 3, 2011 by MassDevice staff

A study shows that medical devices using continuous positive airway pressure lower the fatigue of individuals suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.

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Individuals with obstructive sleep apnea may have a new therapy to relieve their symptoms of fatigue, a study shows.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis and San Diego State University tested a medical device that applies a therapy called "continuous positive airway pressure" on 59 men and women suffering from the condition. All were in their late 40s and experienced at least 10 partial or complete pauses, or apneas, during an hour of sleep.

The patients were randomly assigned CPAP or placebo therapy. Those with the functioning devices "showed significant reductions in the apnea-hypopnea index, [a measurement of sleep apnea's severity,] as well as decreases in both measures of fatigue and increases in vigor," according to the study, which was published in the Jan. 1 issue of the journal Sleep.

Soft tissue in OSA sufferers' airways collapses as muscles relax during sleep causing the patients to snore and frequently wake up. The CPAP device provides a steady stream of air through a mask that keeps their throats open during sleep. Individuals with sleep apnea conditions experience greater risks for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, irregular heartbeat and diabetes.

Companies that develop CPAP devices include Oklahoma City-based Graymark Healthcare Inc. (NSDQ:GRMH), San Diego-based ResMed Inc. (NYSE:RMD) and medical device giant Medtronic Inc. (NYSE:MDT).