Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea With Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation

Arie Oliven


Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2011;17(6):419-424. 

In This Article

Electrical Stimulation of Upper Airway Dilator Muscles: Rationale

In addition to the many anatomical abnormalities implicated in the pathogenesis of OSA, the role of neuromuscular mechanisms is clear, as apneas occur only during sleep, when muscular activity wanes.[12,13•] Consequently, the importance of upper airway dilator muscles in maintaining pharyngeal stability has been long recognized. A progressive diminution in the level of electrical activity of upper airway dilator muscles with the transition from wakefulness to sleep has been well documented. This decrease in activity is associated with pharyngeal narrowing and increased upper airway resistance, and frank collapse in OSA patients.[13•] Accordingly, an approach directed to increase dilator muscle tone to a level sufficient to maintain pharyngeal patency during wakefulness is expected to restore airflow during sleep.


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