Hypoglossal nerve stimulation (HGNS) is an effective therapy for obstructive sleep apnea patients who are unable to tolerate CPAP, according to new research presented at SLEEP 2016.
HGNS is a method in which mild stimulations are delivered to the patient’s hypoglossal nerve — the nerve that controls tongue movement — during sleep, leading to enlargement of the upper airway and improved airflow.
The technique incorporates a battery-powered device consisting of a breathing sensor, a generator, and a stimulation lead. The device monitors the patient’s breathing patterns, and stimulations are delivered to the hypoglossal nerve in response to breathing pauses.
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