Obstructive sleep apnea, unobstructed

In October, UF Health became the first health system in the region to offer a new Food and Drug Administration-approved upper airway stimulation device to help patients suffering from moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea. John D. Harwick, M.D., FAAOA, a board-certified otolaryngologist in head and neck surgery at UF Health ENT Allergy – Hampton Oaks, completed the first procedure. Although obstructive sleep apnea is treatable by using the continuous positive airway pressure, a mask that delivers air pressure and is worn while sleeping, some patients find that this hinders their quality of life. The new device stimulates nerve branches in the tongue to keep a person’s airway open during sleep. Once implanted, the device monitors a person’s breathing and sends a mild stimulation to the nerves of the tongue when it notices a cessation of breathing. — Alisha Kinman