NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell First in NY to Offer New Treatment for Sleep Apnea

Inspire Therapy is FDA-approved and treats patients through upper airway stimulation

Jun 29, 2015

New York

A state-of-the-art implant designed to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is now being offered at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The device is the first of its kind approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is an alternative to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the current standard of care for OSA.

Some 18 million Americans have OSA, according to the National Sleep Foundation. The condition occurs when the tongue and other soft tissues relax during sleep and obstruct the airway. While CPAP masks are effective when used properly and consistently, they face high rates of non-compliance. Studies have shown that many patients find CPAP masks uncomfortable and inconvenient to wear at night before going to sleep.

“The implantable upper airway stimulation device has revolutionized our treatment approach for CPAP-intolerant patients with OSA,” said Dr. Maria Suurna, a sleep surgery specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and assistant professor of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. “This is the most exciting alternative therapy for patients who have struggled for years to effectively manage their OSA. Now, we can implant this small device with little discomfort to the patient. This innovative procedure has been very successful in controlling airway obstruction and snoring during sleep.”

Inspire Therapy Implantable upper airway stimulation device

The implant, manufactured by Inspire Medical Systems, works with a person’s natural breathing process. The device is inserted under the skin in the upper chest, and delivers mild stimulation to key airway muscles, keeping the airway open during sleep. The patient activates the device with an external remote control at night and can turn it off upon waking in the morning.

The implant, manufactured by Inspire Medical Systems, works with a person’s natural breathing process.

OSA poses a wide range of health risks to patients. The condition’s common side effects include daytime sleepiness, depression, weight gain and diminished quality of life. In clinical trials, the implant reduced apnea and hypopnea (shallow breathing) by 68 percent, and 85 percent of bed partners reported little to no snoring in their partner 12 months after activation. In addition, patients reported significant improvements in daytime functioning.

“While CPAP treatment can often help people with OSA, there is still a great need for alternative treatment for patients who have not been able to tolerate CPAP,” said Dr. Ana Krieger, medical director of the Weill Cornell Center for Sleep Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and an associate professor of clinical medicine, neurology and genetic medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. “This new implant will allows us to offer a new treatment approach for patients who have been suffering for many years. This patient-centered approach is a major breakthrough in addressing OSA, which is related to a number of other, more serious conditions.”

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell is currently offering the procedure and device to patients who have OSA and have not been able to use a CPAP mask. For more information, contact the office of Dr. Suurna at 646-962-9135.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive hospitals and a leading provider of inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine. With some 2,600 beds and more than 6,500 affiliated physicians and 20,000 employees, NewYork-Presbyterian had more than 2 million visits in 2013, including close to 15,000 infant deliveries and more than 310,000 emergency department visits. NewYork-Presbyterian comprises six campuses: NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/Westchester Division and NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital. The hospital is also closely affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area, according to U.S. News & World Report, and consistently named to the magazine’s Honor Roll of best hospitals in the nation. Affiliated with two world-renowned medical schools, Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, NewYork-Presbyterian is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. For more information, visit


Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University’s medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside, aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances — including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease, and most recently, the world’s first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with Houston Methodist. For more information, visit

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