Treating obstructive sleep apnea with hypoglossal nerve stimulation

Peter Eastwood, M Barnes, Jenny Walsh, KJ Maddison, Geoffrey Hee, Alan Schwartz, Philip Smith, A Malhotra, Ronald McEvoy, J Wheatley, Fergal O'Donoghue, PD Rochford, T Churchward, M Campbell, Carsten Palme, Samuel Robinson, G Goding, D Eckert, A Jordan, Peter CatchesideL Tyler, Nicholas Antic, C Worsnop, E Kezirian, David Hillman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    200 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Reduced upper airway muscle activity during sleep is fundamental to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) pathogenesis. Hypoglossal nerve stimulation (HGNS) counteracts this problem, with potential to reduce OSA severity. Study Objectives: To examine safety and efficacy of a novel HGNS system (HGNS, Apnex Medical, Inc.) in treating OSA. Participants: Twenty-one patients, 67% male, age (mean ± SD) 53.6 ± 9.2 years, with moderate to severe OSA and unable to tolerate continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Design: Each participant underwent surgical implantation of the HGNS system in a prospective single-arm interventional trial. OSA severity was defined by apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) during in-laboratory polysomnography (PSG) at baseline and 3 and 6 months post-implant. Therapy compliance was assessed by nightly hours of use. Symptoms were assessed using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire (FOSQ), Calgary Sleep Apnea Quality of Life Index (SAQLI), and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Results: HGNS was used on 89% ± 15% of nights (n = 21). On these nights, it was used for 5.8 ± 1.6 h per night. Nineteen of 21 participants had baseline and 6-month PSGs. There was a significant improvement (all P < 0.05) from baseline to 6 months in: AHI (43.1 ± 17.5 to 19.5 ± 16.7), ESS (12.1 ± 4.7 to 8.1 ± 4.4), FOSQ (14.4 ± 2.0 to 16.7 ± 2.2), SAQLI (3.2 ± 1.0 to 4.9 ± 1.3), and BDI (15.8 ± 9.0 to 9.7 ± 7.6). Two serious device-related adverse events occurred: an infection requiring device removal and a stimulation lead cuff dislodgement requiring replacement. Conclusions: HGNS demonstrated favorable safety, efficacy, and compliance. Participants experienced a significant decrease in OSA severity and OSA-associated symptoms. Clinical Trial Information: Name: Australian Clinical Study of the Apnex Medical HGNS System to Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Registration Number: NCT01186926. URL:

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1479-1486
    Number of pages8
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2011


    • Genioglossus muscle
    • Hypoglossal nerve stimulation
    • Implantable neurostimulator
    • Lung
    • Sleep apnea


    Dive into the research topics of 'Treating obstructive sleep apnea with hypoglossal nerve stimulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this