December 4, 2023

We’re within the midst of a sleep disaster. Based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, greater than one-third of American adults don’t get sufficient (seven or extra hours every night time) sleep. This sleep disaster is attributable to many issues, together with a critical situation referred to as Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, which causes one to cease respiratory throughout sleep and may wake one up all through the night time. And, as many have reported within the media, this disaster grew to become exacerbated by one of many largest medical machine points in U.S. historical past: the recall of millions of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices.

Each media report on this failure is warranted, however an excessive amount of of this protection is “dead-end,” sharing the most recent developments with out providing alternate options to stranded sufferers. There are equally-if-not-more-effective different sleep apnea therapies obtainable and the media should embrace its accountability to make sufferers conscious of them.

For these unfamiliar with the scenario in query, think about if one-third of all automobiles on the street had been abruptly recalled for doubtlessly life-threatening points.

CPAP is essentially the most generally prescribed therapy for sleep apnea. This CPAP recall follows the invention of probably dangerous foam particles inside respirators; STAT Information and others have reported that this has affected greater than 10 million devices. For context, that’s sufficient units to deal with one-third of the individuals within the U.S. dwelling with sleep apnea.

STAT News has reported on different sleep apnea therapies. Nonetheless, a number of the most influential and informative information shops on this planet have printed article after article on all downside, no answer. Appallingly, an October 2022 Associated Press article cited a doctor who stated that “most sufferers are higher off utilizing a recalled machine as a result of the dangers of untreated sleep apnea nonetheless outweigh the potential harms of the disintegrating foam.”

With info like that coming from trusted establishments in journalism, one would possibly suppose CPAP was the one sleep apnea therapy on earth. One can be mistaken. Whereas CPAP is very efficacious, compliance is a matter, as many discover it insupportable; it’s noisy and uncomfortable for a lot of sufferers and their mattress companions, main 15% of patients to abandon CPAP after one night and 50% within one year. Fortunately, we reside in a golden age of healthcare innovation and within the final decade, that ingenuity has accelerated within the sleep sector as extra innovators acknowledge the necessity for alternate options to CPAP.

Many sufferers who’ve tried and failed CPAP have entry to Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation (HGNS). HGNS treats sleep apnea with a surgically implanted medical machine that stimulates the hypoglossal nerve – a motor nerve stimulating a number of tongue muscular tissues – in a rhythm matching a affected person’s respiratory. Along with requiring surgical procedure, this remedy’s main shortcoming is that it’s only for sufferers with reasonable to extreme instances and with a physique mass index of 32 or much less, which can exclude many potential sufferers as sleep apnea impacts 45% of obese adults.

Many sufferers even have entry to Oral Equipment Remedy (OAT), which addresses the adherence points related to CPAP. These oral units reposition and stabilize a affected person’s jaw throughout sleep, bettering airflow and serving to them sleep uninterrupted. Since 2015, the American Academy of Sleep Drugs and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Drugs (AADSM) have recommended that sleep physicians contemplate OAT for delicate to reasonable sleep apnea sufferers who refuse CPAP or can not tolerate it. Extra not too long ago and in direct response to the CPAP recall, the AADSM has urged members to undertake OAT. In consequence, it’s rising in recognition.

These doubtlessly transformational alternate options to CPAP are efficacious, efficient and clinically validated. Whereas they’re utilized by a whole lot of 1000’s of sufferers within the U.S. alone, many extra individuals are unaware of them. Many on this unaware class are CPAP customers whose total well being and high quality of life might enhance from these therapies. But, they might fear these alternate options usually are not obtainable to them. Ought to sufferers seek the advice of their docs, they’ll discover that each one of those choices are FDA-approved and are coated by insurance coverage in most cases.

Now think about that within the aforementioned hypothetical vehicle recall, the media devoted its vitality virtually completely to reporting on the worsening downside with out making viewers conscious of potential options. That’s precisely the place we’re with the CPAP recall. It’s time for the trusted media at giant to start out reporting on the issue and the answer, fairly than simply the previous. No extra “dead-end” media protection of the CPAP recall; begin pointing sufferers in the fitting course.

Photograph: Aquir, Getty Pictures