John D. Harwick, MD, FAAOA, a board certified ENT physician at UF Health, was the first physician in North Central Florida to offer a new surgical procedure to treat obstructive sleep apnea. The procedure is referred to as Upper Airway Stimulation Therapy also known as Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation Therapy marketed under the commercial name InSpire. The procedure is an alternative to the use of CPAP for those patients age 22 and up who have tried CPAP and cannot use it because of claustrophobia, skin irritation, bed partner complaints, or inconvenience of traveling with the machine among other issues that make using CPAP impossible. To qualify, the patient’s body mass index should be 32 or less, and have been diagnosed to stop breathing during sleep between 20 and 65 times per hour and have failed to be able to use CPAP or a device to pull the jaw forward during sleep. If the patient meets these criteria, Dr. Harwick then performs an outpatient examination in the operating room to determine where the throat collapses during sleep. If the findings indicate the patient will respond to InSpire Therapy a discussion is held with the patient after the procedure at a follow up visit to determine if they wish to proceed with scheduling the implantation.
To date Dr. Harwick has implanted 16 patients. Before the procedure, all of these patients stopped breathing between 25 and 50 times per hour and had symptoms of daytime fatigue. After the procedure, repeat sleep studies showed that the number of obstructive breathing events was reduced to a range of 1-6 events per hour for this group of patients. These patients report more restful sleep and better daytime energy since implantation. Dr. Harwick is a leader in this implantation therapy and has presented his findings at a national meeting on stimulation therapy.
An appointment for evaluation can be made by contacting the ENT Access Center at 352-265-0920.