Pacemaker treats sleep apnea

Experimental device works for many patients who can’t use breathing machines

By Nathan Seppa, 17:30 PM January 8, 2014

An implantable gizmo can halt obstructive sleep apnea, a nighttime breathing disorder that disrupts rest and robs the body of oxygen. The experimental device, an electronic pacemaker that syncs breathing with opening of the throat, relieved sleep apnea in two-thirds of people who tested it.

The volunteers had moderate-to-severe sleep apnea but couldn’t tolerate a standard treatment with a breathing machine that requires wearing a mask. That machine, called CPAP for continuous positive airway p...

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