Upper Airway Stimulator


Definition - What does Upper Airway Stimulator mean?

An upper airway stimulator is a surgically-implanted device located along the upper right side of the chest consisting of a primary generator unit featuring two connecting leads that serve the interdependent function of stimulating the hypoglossal nerve in concert with breathing patterns to sustain biorhythms. Upper airway stimulation is an alternative therapeutic modality for patients that are unable to conform to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices, delivering steady airflow at a pressurized rate.

WorkplaceTesting explains Upper Airway Stimulator

The criteria for meeting upper airway stimulation therapy often reflects biological and physiological variables including age (usually 22 years old), a designated body mass index (BMV) value of less than 33, a recent diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), CPAP incompatibility, and low risk for surgical liabilities. A sleep technologist assesses a patient’s breathing patterns in calibrating an upper airway stimulator to maximize normal respiration during the night. The health benefits associated with an upper airway stimulator can reduce episodes of snoring, modulating consistent sleep patterns that can translate to the cognitive abilities necessary to perform essential job tasks requiring mental acuity and focus.

In the workplace, sleep apnea remains a persistent issue for employers, affecting, in particular, the transportation industry where the operation of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) can jeopardize personal and public safety in transit. The Department of Transportation (DOT) stipulates appropriate measures to track sleep patterns of individuals who are potential candidates for sleep apnea requiring an official diagnosis to qualify for CMV licensure on the road. A physician and sleep technologist can coordinate an effective strategy in helping decide if an upper airway stimulator is conducive to the physiological needs of the patient in tempering OSA-related cases to promote healthy sleep patterns.

A consultation with a physician is the initial step in determining the right positive airway pressure (PAP) device based on medical history documentation and the manifestation of symptoms (i.e., snoring/breathing cessation) that make upper airway stimulation therapy a viable option.

This definition was written in the context of Sleep Apnea
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